The voting process to select a lawyer representative to the Judicial Nominating Commission by more than 7,400 eligible attorneys will be extended due to an undetermined glitch that resulted in some lawyers not receiving ballots.
Indiana Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathryn Dolan said the court expects to issue an order extending the deadline for balloting that had been scheduled to conclude Nov. 19. Attorneys in good standing in the Court of Appeals Second District are eligible to vote.
Two Indianapolis attorneys – Barnes & Thornburg LLP partner Jan Carroll and Cline Farrell Christie & Lee partner Lee Christie – are on the ballot to succeed William Winingham, whose term on the seven-member commission expires Dec. 31.
Dolan said 7,439 attorneys are eligible to vote, but it became clear some of them hadn’t received ballots sent out from the Supreme Court clerk’s office in recent weeks. She said Carroll and Christie were notified and supportive of efforts to contact eligible voters and provide ballots to those who didn’t receive them.
“We know some attorneys have not received ballots but we cannot seem to uncover the pattern,” Dolan said. The clerk’s office will be contacting eligible voters and “implementing a plan to ensure individuals who have not voted and not obtained a ballot will receive a ballot and can vote.” She said ballots will be counted for attorneys who’ve already returned them, so they need to take no further action.
The commission is comprised of three attorney members elected by lawyers in each of the three COA districts, as well as three non-lawyer members appointed by the governor from each district. The chief justice chairs the panel, which interviews and recommends finalists for vacancies on the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals from which the governor selects appointees.
Elected and appointed members serve three-year terms, so those chosen to serve terms that begin next year will play a role in deciding who will replace Chief Justice Brent Dickson, who will turn 75 in 2016 and face mandatory retirement.
The commission members also serve as the Commission on Judicial Qualifications, which investigates complaints against judges.
Court of Appeals District 2 includes these counties: Adams, Blackford, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Delaware, Grant, Hamilton, Howard, Huntington, Jay, Madison, Marion, Miami, Tippecanoe, Tipton, Wabash, Wells and White.