HANCOCK COUNTY — The discovery of a case of ballots missed on election night helped officials remedy a discrepancy ahead of certifying the contest’s results last week.
Once rectified, the official tallies did not affect the outcomes of any contests stemming from unofficial results announced earlier this month.
Hancock County Election Board members went into their meeting on Friday with a difference of over 150 between the total number of check-ins at vote centers and the number of ballots tabulated for the 2022 general election.
That prompted Democratic election board member Bob Bogigian and Republican board member John Apple to go through cases of ballots locked in the basement of the Hancock County Courthouse Annex. Apple found a case associated with a vote center at Brown’s Chapel Wesleyan Church with its seal still intact.
“We thought there was just one bag full of early-voting ballots from Brown’s Chapel, turns out there were two,” Bogigian said.
The number on the seal matched what was recorded on a daily accountability sheet associated with the center.
“We counted those ballots and it was almost exactly the number that we were off, so we added those to the count,” Hancock County Clerk and election board member Lisa Lofgreen said.
Lofgreen also said eight ballots were opened during counting on election night whose envelopes were missing voter signatures. Via a cure process, those voters were notified and had until Nov. 16 to come into the county election office and provide a signature affidavit so their votes could be counted. Three of those voters completed the cure process and five did not. That further contributed toward remedying the ballot discrepancy as well.
The election board also approved the county provisional ballot board’s acceptance of six provisional ballots and rejection of five. Reasons for acceptance included voters who requested and received an absentee ballot in the mail but also showed up to vote in person; election officials determined they did not submit the ballot that was mailed to them. Reasons for rejection included showing up to polls with expired identification and not being registered to vote in Hancock County.
Then there was one envelope opened on election night with no ballot inside, which accounted for the final number that totals were off by as officials worked to resolve the discrepancy.
“Every election we have at least one,” Bogigian said. “They’ll go and vote early, and for whatever reason they’ll seal that envelope, but they won’t put their ballot in it. It happens just about every election.”
The board then voted unanimously to certify the election results.
“The canvass continues until certification,” Lofgreen noted. “Once election night is over, those are unofficial results. That’s why you have this time. … There’s always going to be numbers fluctuating during that week, and that’s why the certification meeting – while we would love for it to be: Come in, call to order, these are our numbers, adjourn – it’s unlikely that’s ever going to occur, because there’s always going to be something to discuss.”
“And it’s not the result of anything nefarious, it’s just a complicated process run by human beings who make mistakes sometimes,” he added. “There’s nothing malicious going on, it’s just complicated.”
Some states were still counting their votes as of Friday, which came as no surprise to Apple.
“When you’re on the inside of this process, it’s not that shocking,” he said.
Helping to ease the process in Hancock County, Lofgreen said, is the cooperation among board members and county political party leaders despite their different ideologies.
“We’re extremely lucky the three of us get along very well,” said Lofgreen, a Republican. “We work together well, the party chairs are wonderful and get along. We’re very fortunate. I’ve heard horror stories about boards and party chairs and vice chairs in other counties, and we don’t have that problem. We’re all here for the purpose that we were put here for, and no party comes into that decision. We’re here to count the votes.”
The board members expressed their thanks to county election office staff and poll workers.
“Everybody who came out in a hostile environment and made this thing work,” Apple said, adding there was some bitterness from voters toward election workers throughout the election.
Such sentiments have been on the rise nationally ever since former President Donald Trump falsely claimed the 2020 election was stolen from him.
“I think we do a good job at it, and it’s so crucially important,” Bogigian said. “And to see it maligned and unfairly criticized and see people’s confidence eroded in it by falsehoods is infuriating to me.”
Lofgreen also addressed complaints regarding long lines to vote on Election Day.
“Our poll workers work very hard and they process as quickly as they can,” she said.
She urged voters to carefully read cards sent out ahead of elections outlining voting locations and when they’re open, and encouraged them to try other spots if they arrive at one and are discouraged by the length of the line.
Hancock County 2022 General Election Official Results
Total registered voters 62,056
Total ballots cast 24,092
Blank ballots cast 12
Total voter turnout 38.82%
Republican 8,717 (73.49%)
Democratic 3,074 (25.92%)
Libertarian 70 (0.59%)
Todd Young (R) 15,455 (64.51%)
Thomas M. McDermott Jr. (D) 6,685 (27.91%)
James M. Sceniak (L) 1,791 (7.48%)
Write-in 25 (0.1%)
Indiana Secretary of State
Diego Morales (R) 13,599 (57.16%)
Destiny Wells (D) 7,378 (31.01%)
Jeffrey Maurer (L) 2,806 (11.79%)
Write-in 8 (0.3%)
Tera K. Klutz (R) 16,331 (68.69%)
Zenai Brooks (D) 6,172 (25.96%)
John Andrew Schick (L) 1,273 (5.35%)
Daniel Elliott (R) 16,888 (71.33%)
Jessica McClellan (D) 6,787 (28.67%)
Greg Pence (R) 16,636 (70.06%)
Cynthia (Cinde) Wirth (D) 7,055 (29.71%)
Write-in 54 (0.23%)
State Representative District 53
Robert W. Cherry (R) 12,431
State Representative District 54
Cory Criswell (R) 422 (80.84%)
Nan Polk (D) 100 (19.16%)
State Representative District 88
Chris Jeter (R) 4,759 (63.04%)
Donna L. Griffin (D) 2,790 (36.96%)
Brent E. Eaton (R) 18,373
Lisa Eberhardt Lofgreen (R) 18,069
Debra A. Carnes (R) 18,177
Marcia R. Moore (R) 18,131
Brad Burkhart (R) 18,462
Chad E. Coughenour (R) 18,035
Katie Molinder (R) 18,184
County Commissioner District 2
Gary McDaniel (R) 18,003
County Council District 1
Jeannine Gray (R) 5,217
County Council District 2
Mary A. Noe (R) 4,141 (64.91%)
Frank G. Rock Jr. (D) 2,239 (35.09%)
County Council District 3
Jim Shelby (R) 3,303
County Council District 4
J. Scott Wooldridge (R) 4,886
Blue River Township Trustee
Brandon Jones (R) 434
Blue River Township Board (vote for three)
Daniel R. Engleking (R) 332
John M. Gilbert (R) 226
Kathi A. Riggs (R) 262
Brandywine Township Trustee
Kevin Bates (R) 619
Brandywine Township Board (vote for three)
Cherie (Charlee) Burrow (R) 354
Marc Hill (R) 344
Beth Ray-Scott (R) 272
Brown Township Trustee
Theresa Ebbert (R) 691
Brown Township Board (vote for three)
Phyllis Collier-Vest (R) 416
Mark Grass (R) 484
Terry Kemp (R) 322
Buck Creek Township Trustee
Micki Simunek (R) 2,280
Buck Creek Township Board (vote for three)
Erin Harsin-Jordan (R) 1,481
Matthew Kelly (R) 1,455
Scott Whitehouse (R) 1,439
Marian Hensley (D) 1,042
Center Township Trustee
Steve Leonard (R) 5,663
Center Township Board (vote for three)
Fredrick L. Dunlevy (R) 3,251
Thomas Lopez (R) 2,649
Guy Titus (R) 3,387
Green Township Trustee
Stephanie Jones (R) 519
Green Township Board (vote for three)
William T. Jones II (R) 255
Mike Maroska (R) 336
Robert M. Yeager (R) 294
Jackson Township Trustee
Tarra Youngclaus (R) 481
Jackson Township Board (vote for three)
Jason Effing (R) 285
Bob McDaniel (R) 310
Keith A. Wilson (R) 266
Sugar Creek Township Trustee
Jayson Combs (R) 4,307
Sugar Creek Township Board (vote for three)
Matt T. Holland (R) 2,757
Mark H. Mattes (R) 2,117
Marcia H. Parker (R) 2,582
Vernon Township Trustee
Florence May (R) 3,429
Vernon Township Board (vote for three)
Anthony Wayne Buechler (R) 1,974
Timothy Plank (R) 2,157
Marybeth Sears (R) 2,263
Fortville Town Council At Large
Fritz Fentz (R) 887
Fortville Town Council District 2
Ryan Rummell (R) 929
McCordsville Town Council At Large (vote for two)
Bryan Burney (R) 1,129
Scott Jones (R) 1,220
Linda Robinson (D) 960
Andrea Yovanovich (D) 875
Eastern Hancock School Board At Large
Tammy Stunda 1,381
Eastern Hancock School Board District 1
Tammy Settergren 1,324
Greenfield School Board District 2
Clark Smith 5,022
Greenfield School Board District 3
John H. Rihm 5,205
Mt. Vernon School Board At Large (vote for two)
Kellie Freeman 3,612
Shannon J. Walls 3,422
Joshua Worth 2,904
Southern Hancock School Board District 3
James (Jim) A. Buist II 1,319
Jon Hooker 3,454
Southern Hancock School Board District 5
Brian McKinney 4,050
Retention Fifth District Indiana
Retention First District Indiana