Starke County Candidate’s Appeal Heard in La Porte Circuit Court – WKVI Information Center


Dennis Fornelli has appealed the Starke County Board of Elections’ decision to remove him as the Republican Starke County Sheriff’s nominee from the May primary ballot and that appeal was recently heard in La Porte Circuit Court.

As previously reported, a challenge was issued against former Republican nominee Dennis Fornelli for Starke County Sheriff in February. According to the challenge, Fornelli had not voted in two primaries as a Republican and was not qualified to appear on the ballot. Fornelli disputed that, saying he voted Republican in the 2020 primary election, but there was a problem and he had to sign paperwork in order to vote. Council members claimed there were no documents, no certificates of error found and no signatures on the poll book, so it appeared he did not vote in the 2020 primary election. Fornelli said it was a mistake by election officials and that there was a lot of confusion in the election, especially with COVID, and that he should be allowed to stay on the ballot. Fornelli also said that emails to Republican Chairman Dave Kesvormas had not received a response regarding the endorsement of his Republican candidacy to run for sheriff.

The board decided by a 2-to-1 vote that Fornelli be removed from the ballot due to his previous voting record. Board members Bernadette Welter Manuel and President Marcia Bedrock voted in favor of the vote, with Colleen Hodge abstaining.

Fornelli appealed that decision and the hearing took place before La Porte Circuit Court Judge Tom Alevizos on Tuesday, April 12. Starke County Republican Chairman Dave Kesvormas testified at the hearing, along with Starke County Clerk Bernadette Welter Manuel, Anthony Black and Dennis Fornelli. . Starke County Attorney Justin Schramm, who represented the Starke County Board of Elections on the matter, told WKVI News the judge upheld the board’s decision because Fornelli’s burden of providing sufficient evidence as the proof was not met.

Fornelli provided a comment to WKVI News stating that he wanted to thank his many supporters in this endeavor and that he is working to “get on the ticket in November as an independent Republican.” He believes that injustice and prejudice persist in this area.