Indianapolis attorney Bennett ends tenure as Election Commission chair

Indianapolis attorney Bryce Bennett, a founding partner with Riley Bennett & Egloff, has resigned as chair of the Indiana Election Commission effective Monday, according to a statement from the firm. Bennett has served two four-year terms under his appointments from Govs. Mitch Daniels, Mike Pence and Eric Holcomb.

Bennett, who is also stepping down from the commission entirely, is succeeded as chair by Paul Okeson, executive vice president of Garmong Construction Services, who was appointed to the board effective Monday.

According to the statement, Secretary of State Connie Lawson presented Bennett a National Association of Secretaries of State Award following his final meeting as chair on June 21. Bennett is among just five recipients of the award from Lawson, a past president of the group, during her 12 years as Indiana secretary of state. In addition to his service leading the commission, Lawson commended Bennett for his work as an administrative law judge and volunteer work for the city of Indianapolis and many boards and nonprofits.

Indiana Election Division co-director J. Bradley King said Bennett’s tenure was “distinguished by his dedication to resolving difficult election issues by presiding over the Commission with courteous respect for both his fellow Commission members and everyone who appeared before the Commission. His keen analysis, and careful examination of often complex election law issues brought insight to the Commission’s decision-making process.

“Even when the Commission could not agree on a matter, Bryce’s calm and prudent skills as chair led the Commission to achieve the goal that many people long for in the political process: to disagree without being disagreeable,” King said in a statement.

Gov. Eric Holcomb’s office did not immediately reply to a message seeking comment.

Bennett has been a practicing attorney since 1978 and handles a wide range of business, health care, construction, government and other complex civil litigation.  He was selected an Indiana Lawyer Leadership in Law Distinguished Barrister in 2012.

The Indiana Election Commission, under Indiana Code 3-6-4.1, is comprised of four members, no more than two from the same party, who administer election law, adopt rules, assign election and registration forms for the state and oversee local election and registration officers.

Along with Okeson, members of the commission are Zachary E. Klutz, S. Anthony Long and Suzannah Wilson Overholt.

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