Q&A: Charter school ballots

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From a charter school director:

Q: I am a director on the board of our local charter school. Our board president believes that, because our ballots will be distributed to members, those ballots cannot be cast in secret based on IC 5-14-1.5-3 (the Open Door Law provision prohibiting secret ballots). Our legal counsel agrees with him.

I think he’s mistaken because I don’t believe our membership is a governing body. The qualifications for membership are only that one has a student at our school, be an employee of the school, or serve on its board. Other than the board members, none of those positions are elected. Can you help me?

A: The Open Door Law (IC 5-14-1.5) applies to the governing body of the charter school.

It doesn’t sound like that is the group casting ballots in this election, so the secret ballot prohibition would not come into play.

If you want an additional opinion that you could legally rely upon in case someone later challenged the action, ask Public Access Counselor Joseph Hoage. I’m confident that Joe will agree with my take.

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.

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