Missed case of ballots helps certify election results

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The Hancock County Election Board is made up of Republican County Clerk Lisa Lofgreen, left, Democrat Bob Bogigian and Republican John Apple, pictured here during a test of voting equipment in October.

Daily Reporter file photo

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.”

Bogigian agreed.

“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%

Straight party

Republican 8,717 (73.49%)

Democratic 3,074 (25.92%)

Libertarian 70 (0.59%)

U.S. Senator

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%)

Indiana Auditor

Tera K. Klutz (R) 16,331 (68.69%)

Zenai Brooks (D) 6,172 (25.96%)

John Andrew Schick (L) 1,273 (5.35%)

Indiana Treasurer

Daniel Elliott (R) 16,888 (71.33%)

Jessica McClellan (D) 6,787 (28.67%)

U.S. Representative

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%)

County Prosecutor

Brent E. Eaton (R) 18,373

County Clerk

Lisa Eberhardt Lofgreen (R) 18,069

County Auditor

Debra A. Carnes (R) 18,177

County Recorder

Marcia R. Moore (R) 18,131

County Sheriff

Brad Burkhart (R) 18,462

County Surveyor

Chad E. Coughenour (R) 18,035

County Assessor

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

Yes 13,874

No 4,387

Retention First District Indiana

Yes 14,099

No 4,115

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