Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Elrod-Mahern Recount

While a defeated Rep. Ed Mahern (D) made much ado about the importance of all the votes being counted in announcing his intent to seek a recount of the 97th District House he lost by 7 votes to Jon Elrod (R), the petition he filed only requested a recount of 40 of the district's 67 precincts. To prevent Mahern from cherry-picking precincts for purposes of a recount, Elrod filed his own cross-motion for a recount to add the 27 precincts Mahern excluded from his petition. This will insure a full recount of the votes cast.

Mahern is also challenging the official count because 19 absentee ballots sent to a nursing home in the district included the incorrect House district race. A possible remedy for that error could be a new election. I highly doubt that will occur. The recount process will begin in earnest tomorrow. Elrod was sworn in as state representative for the 97th District last week as the candidated certified to the state's Election Division as receiving the most votes.


Anonymous said...

*crosses fingers*

I wasn't aware one could ask for a recount in just certain precincts. Good on Jon Elrod to insist in counting *ALL* of them. After all its the Democratic mantra to count *ALL* the votes. Not just ones from "democratic" wards & precincts

Anonymous said...

Recounting only ome precincts, was Gore's biggest mistake in 2000. He'd have won if he had asked for all to be recounted. Jim Baker, instead, artfully cast Gore as a "selective recounter."

But, in Indiana, there is a fee for those requesting a recount. I don't know what it is, but it's per-precinct.

The petitioner has the right to request recounts wherever (s)he wishes.

Don't look for boogeymen here...just count the freaking votes, which should've been done already.

Gary R. Welsh said...

When the margin is this close, state law allows for a recount with minimal additional charge to the party petitioning for the recount. It's like $10 for each precinct in excess of 10 precincts. That money is refunded if the vote difference is at least halved as a result of the recount.

Anonymous said...

didn't know you were an election law expert there AI...

What's the point in Billy "not-so" Bright's recount down in Southern Indiana? Outrage there?

It's okay to throw out 19 votes because the Clerk screwed up? How's that better than only asking for a recount in some precincts???

Anonymous said...

2:43 is right.

Technically, absentees that are not sent to the originating precinct on election day cannot be counted. That's Indiana law. It's stupid, but that's the law.

I imagine the other voter law, which mandates Voter Intent be the determining factor, will win out here, and those absentees will be counted.

It's a lesson for all of us to get our absentees in early. But it shouldn't have come to this. I have no idea what those uncounted absentees say...they could be all Republican, all Dem...who knows? But to fail to get them to the precincts, in this case, caused a monumental problem.

Gary R. Welsh said...

anon, 2:43, I previously explained that Bright's recount arose out of concern that as many as 30% of the votes cast in Jennings County were by absentee ballot--more than 3 times the normal rate. Bright won Jennings County by more than 1,600 votes 2 years ago; he lost it by about that same margin this year--the difference in this election. A recount may draw scrutiny to absentee ballots.

anon, 3:30, what was an even more stupid law was the Florida law that allowed absentee ballots that arrived in the mail after election day to be counted.

Anonymous said...

Postmarked ballots, whose postal insignia is Election Day or before, should count, everywhere, Gary.

With a reasonable cutoff, of course.

Why should absentee voters risk their vote not being counted, because of USPS, or, worse, Clerk's Office screwups?

When in college, I always paid the extra postage and sent mine back registered.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I disagree, anon. If you're going to vote absentee, you should not wait until the last minute to mail in your ballot. You're already being given a break by not being required to vote in person; the least you could do is mail in your ballot in a timely fashion.

Anonymous said...

"Given a break" ?

Work, school, or other personal business foten draws people out of town on the provided Election Day.

No one is giving them a break, when they exercise their duty and vote, by absentee. They should do so promptly and return the ballot promptly.

My daughter in college, who's voted solid D three times, requested an absentee Sept.20. She got it the Friday before the election. I drove to get it, to be sure it would count. But the delay was not her fault. Not even close.

Her friend at IU, from a longtime Marion County Republican family, submitted her applilcation for absentee Oct.28 and got the ballot in three days.

It's a dirty little secret that's been festering in this clerk's office for years. Second time it's happened in my family--and I could give you many more similar examples. We Democrats have had to birddog these applications for years. It's not right.

And you wonder why many of us screamed for a new clerk?

What a provincial attitude "give em a break" is.