Manual recounting of ballots completed for District 62 state house, final results next week

By around 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday, the recounting activity in Monroe County for the District 62 state house race between Republican Dave Hall and Democrat Penny Githens was completed.

That wrapped up the recounting for all of District 62, which also includes precincts in Brown and Jackson counties.

Recounting in Monroe County took place at Election Central in the old Johnson’s Hardware building at 7th and Madison streets.

The results of the recount won’t be finalized until the state recount commission meets next week.

The final certified tally of votes, before the recount, gave Hall 12,990 votes, which was 40 more than Democrat Penny Githens received.

Recount director Philip Sicuso told The B Square that the meeting has not yet been noticed to the public, but the recount commission plans to convene at 9 a.m. next Tuesday (Dec. 20) at the statehouse in Indianapolis. That’s the deadline for completion of the recount.

Recount tallies are not released publicly by state board of accounts (SBOA) team that conducts the recounting—but the tallies have been provided to the candidates. The tallies and any disputed ballots identified during the process will be reviewed by the recount commission.

On Wednesday, Githens spoke about the reason the Democratic Party had filed for a recount. She rejected the idea that it was related to the 6,600 ballots that were added to Monroe County’s vote totals, after the final unofficial tally issued by the clerk’s office on the night of Nov. 8.

Githens said, “I want to categorically state that the petition was not filed due to the slight delay in reporting of the total votes and Monroe County—that just was not part of the issues that we were trying to address with this.”

Githens said, “The recount was requested because of the small difference in the number of votes.”

Githens remarks came at the end of Wednesday morning’s regular meeting of the board of county commissioners—on which she serves as the District 3 representative.

The recount that has been requested for Benton Township board can’t start until after the recount commission meets next week, because the ballots will be under an impound order until then.

One difference between initial certified counts for each candidate and the recounted totals could come from a part of state election law that requires each absentee ballot to be initialed by two election workers. If a ballot lacks either of the two initials, the recount team does not add that ballot to the tally.

The recount activity takes place at a table with two people on each side. On one side is a pair of state board of accounts (SBOA) employees. On the other side are two watchers, one from each candidate. One SBOA staffer holds each ballot up, for inspection by the two watchers, and announces the outcome. The other SBOA staffer keeps the tally.

Audio: One minute of recounting activity