Politics

Libertarian secretary of state nominee: Indiana voters need more choices, transparency

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Libertarian Party’s nominee for secretary of state said Thursday the only way to waste your vote is to vote for someone you don’t like.

Carmel entrepreneur Jeff Maurer’s name will appear alongside those of Democrat Destiny Wells and Republican Diego Morales on November’s secretary of state ballot. Maurer has never run for public office.

The secretary of state election is particularly important for third parties because state law requires a party to win at least 2% of the popular vote in the race for its candidates to appear on the ballot during the subsequent four years.

This is why no third party, other than the Libertarian party, will appear on this fall’s ballot, though candidates affiliated with other parties have managed to get on as write-ins.

Maurer said his party met that threshold consistently since 1994 and he sees no reason for that to change. He disagrees with the notion that he will only siphon votes away from one of the major-party candidates.

“The only time you waste your vote is when you keep voting for the problems that you don’t like,” Maurer said. “There’s no such thing as a wasted vote if you vote for what you want.”

Turnout in the May primary came in at just 14% statewide. Maurer said he blames low turnout on a lack of choices and a lack of voter confidence in the process.

He said he wants to require an outside audit of every election and provide each voter with a paper receipt of their vote, though he stopped short of saying every county in Indiana should require hand-marked paper ballots.

As for the choice issue, he said Indiana’s election laws need to be changed to make it easier for independent and third-party candidates to get on the ballot.

“Our community is not as simple as left or right, blue or red. We are a tapestry of people,” he said. “Let’s get more people and causes on the ballot so you have more choices.”

Morales has drawn controversy for his comments questioning the legitimacy of the 2020 election and questions surrounding his National Guard service. Maurer said Morales’ declaration in an interview with former Trump White House Counselor Steve Bannon that he was a MAGA candidate shows Morales is loyal to former President Donald Trump and not the electoral process.

As for the military records controversy, Maurer, who currently serves in the Air National Guard, said any political candidate who serves in the armed forces has to be transparent about what they did and did not do in uniform.

“When somebody tries very hard to hide his or her record, it doesn’t speak well for why they’re doing that,” Maurer said.

For his part, Morales told News 8 last week he considers President Joe Biden the legitimate winner of the election. He said he left because his enlistment had expired.

See more of Jeff Maurer’s interview at 10 a.m. on Sunday on WISH-TV.