Dems ask for recount of 4-vote margin in Benton Township board race

A recount in the Benton Township board race has now been requested by the Monroe County Democratic Party.

In the Benton Township board race, where the top three vote getters win election, Democrat Hans Kelson finished fourth, missing third-place by a 4-vote margin. The third-place finisher was Republican Jake Dodds.

Under state election law, a recount request for a township board race takes the form of a petition filed  with the circuit court. The announcement of the recount petition filing came on Wednesday from Monroe County Democratic chair David Henry.

In the same announcement, Henry wrote that the Democratic party is still weighing a possible recount request in the District 62 state house race.

The District 62 race was won by Republican Dave Hall over Democrat Penny Githens with a post-provisional ballot count margin of 40 votes. The 17-day period for a county chair to ask for a recount translates into next Monday, due to the Thanksgiving Day holiday.

Because Monroe County has the largest population of the three counties covered by District 62, it would fall to the county chair of Monroe County to file for a recount in that race.

Benton Township, which takes up the northeast corner of Monroe County, is by land area the largest township in Indiana. It was formed by a 1947-merger of Marion and Benton townships in 1947.

In Henry’s announcement of the Benton Township board recount petition he says, “In a race that tightened up during canvassing and certification to a four-vote margin, I am certain that if the situation were reversed that any party would seek a recount on behalf of their candidate.”

The race tightened because of four additional ballots in Benton Township precincts, which were approved by the election board during their review of provisional ballots last Friday.

When those four ballots were added to the mix, Kelson picked up two votes, but Dodds didn’t pick up any. That reduced Kelson’s shortfall from 6 votes to 4.

It was Republican Party chair Taylor Bryant, who put Dodds on the township board ballot, after a post-primary Republican caucus gave her that authority. Incumbent Republican Lynn Stevens did not contest the primary. Stevens was injured in a traffic crash early in the year.

The four-way race for the three board seats was between Republican Jake Dodds and three Democrats: Joe Husk (incumbent), Hans Kelson (incumbent), and Sean McInerney.

As they currently stand, the Benton Township board election results maintain one Republican representative on the Benton Township board, who would serve with two Democrats. But the two Democrats would be different from the current board—because McInerney would be swapped in for Kelson.

Straight-ticket votes do not count for pick-any-three-type elections like township board races. That can make township board races somewhat more competitive than they otherwise would be.

Here’s how the Benton Township board race shaped up, before and after the provisional ballot review:

Total without provisional ballots

Candidate Absentee Early in-person  Election Day Total
JOSEPH G HUSK DEM 48 256 334 638
HANS KELSON DEM 43 252 320 615
SEAN MCINERNEY DEM 49 251 345 645
JAKE DODDS REP 38 148 435 621


Total after added provisional ballots

Candidate Absentee Early in-person  Election Day Total
JOSEPH G HUSK DEM 49 256 336 641
HANS KELSON DEM 43 252 322 617
SEAN MCINERNEY DEM 49 251 348 648
JAKE DODDS REP 38 148 435 621


Provisional ballots

Candidate Absentee Early in-person  Election Day Total