Wednesday, November 15, 2006

making it count

the vote counting ain't over till it's over:

Democratic incumbent Ed Mahern will lose his re-election run for the Indiana House to Republican challenger Jon Elrod based on uncertified election results, Marion County Clerk Doris Anne Sadler said Tuesday.

Democrats, however, disputed whether the vote total -- which has Elrod ahead by five votes in District 97 -- was final, and Marion County election officials expect a recount in such a tight race.

five votes is a razor-thin lead, one that could be overturned easily by a recount. but that's not all; it could be even tighter:

The official tally shows Mahern received 4,438 votes to Elrod's 4,443. All ballots have been counted, Sadler said, except for four provisional ballots. Those four voters didn't have appropriate identification to vote and have until Friday to appear at the Election Board office and prove their identities.

voter id strikes again! clearly, no matter what todd rokita says, indiana's voter id law (the strictest in the nation) had an impact on the election. voters who showed up at the polls without proper id were given provisional ballots, but those ballots are not counted unless the voters show up at their county clerk's office with the correct id within a two-week window... an even bigger hurdle than getting the id in the first place.

but wait, there's more!

Plus, three absentee ballots cast before Election Day will not be counted, Sadler said. State law required that the ballots be counted at the polling place on Election Day, but the Election Board was unable to get them there on time.

That means the ballots can't be included in the tally, Sadler said, adding that some ballots are discarded each year because of that problem.

you read that right: sadler doesn't want to count those ballots, not because the voters did anything wrong, but because the election board screwed up. if i'd voted absentee in that precinct, i'd be furious. however, state democratic party chairman ed treacy is demanding that those ballots be counted, saying "If they don't count them, I'll guarantee it will go to court."

if you think this race is absurdly close, you probably didn't hear about the the clerk race in posey county:

Election officials in southern Indiana's Posey County were looking for one voter to decide the outcome of the tied county clerk's race.

Republican Donna "Mouse" Curtis and Democrat Donna Butler each received 4,896 votes in the Nov. 7 election. A single provisional ballot remains to be counted, if the person who cast it presents identification by Friday so it can be authenticated.
Election board members thought they had the deciding vote Monday when they opened an absentee ballot cast by a military service member.

"We thought, 'Well we've got the deciding vote right here,' but he did not vote for either candidate," election board member Ron Bennett said. "He voted for some of the other races but not this one."

it's down to one vote. and worse yet, if not for the voter id law, we would know who won this race.


Arnie said...

Let me give you a head up here. Indiana election law is such that if a winner cannot be determined by recount, the Indiana House will select the winner by vote of the membership. How about that!

Arnie said...

And oh bay the way, the wrong ballots were sent to several District 97 polling places. People voting straight demo ticket had intend to vote for Mahern used these ballots before the problem was correct. Another repub ploy?

Look for this item in a recount boys.