Jul. 20—A decision by the Indiana Supreme Court has affirmed the election of Josie Swalls-Thompson as the Vigo County Treasurer, ending an appeal by former treasurer Nancy Allsup.
An order issued Monday by Chief Justice Lorretta Rush denied a petition to transfer the legal challenge from the Indiana Court of Appeals, which affirmed a lower court's decision that Swalls-Thompson met the state's residency requirement to be a candidate.
Rush's order noted that only Justice Stephen David agreed to hear the case, with the other justices agreeing to deny the petition to transfer.
On April 29, an appeals court panel declined to "overturn the will of the voters" in favor of the post-election residency challenge raised by former treasurer Allsup.
In the Nov. 3 election, Swalls-Thompson, the Republican challenger, defeated Democratic incumbent treasurer Allsup by a tally of 21,687 votes to 20,392, or about 51.5% to 48.5%.
Allsup claimed Swalls-Thompson had failed to establish residency in Vigo County in the year prior to the election, making her ineligible to seek office. Allsup contended Swalls-Thompson actually was a resident of Florida.
Allsup appealed the December decision of Special Judge Robert Pell, who conducted a hearing in Vigo Circuit Court on Allsup's challenge. Pell ruled Swalls-Thompson had established Vigo County residency and was duly elected treasurer.
The appeals court panel examined Allsup's arguments that Swalls-Thompson failed to obtain an Indiana drivers license until after the November 2020 election and that Swalls-Thompson received a 2019 Florida homestead property tax exemption on a condominium there.
Swalls-Thompson had testified she moved back to Vigo County after her marriage in August 2017 and resided here with her husband in his house even though she retained the Florida condominium.
Swalls-Thompson also presented evidence she and her husband had purchased vehicles in 2019 that they titled in Indiana, and that she took her pet to a Vigo County veterinarian and maintained a safe deposit box in Terre Haute.
Pell found that Swalls-Thompson resided in Vigo County for one year prior to the November 3, 2020 election. Allsup filed her appeal in December.
The appeals panel agreed the circumstances presented a close question, but it declined to overturn the trial court's decision, and denied a request for oral arguments.
That denial prompted a May 26 request by Allsup to transfer the case to the Indiana Supreme Court.
Vigo County Republican Party Chairman Randy Gentry said Monday the high court's decision means the challenge is finished.
Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at TribStarLisa.