After Republican Kristen Weiler lost the Batesville judge’s election to Democratic incumbent John Kellerman II by two votes (956-954), Weiler filed a petition for a recount Tuesday, Nov. 15, reported Ripley County Clerk Mary Ann McCoy.
Weiler said Nov. 16, “At this point, I do not intend to file for a recount in Franklin County. I have not heard of any problems with the machines there ... the process that is set up by the statute is that John can certainly join in my petition or file a counter petition (asking for addition tasks).”
“It’s definitely a lesson in civics,” the candidate observed. Before she made the trip to the clerk’s office in Versailles, “there was a lot of research into the statutes to make sure I was complying with all of the aspects.”
“It is a learning process.” Weiler left Batesville about 10:15 a.m. to file the paperwork and didn’t return to her office until 3 p.m. “They certainly had questions of me.”
She decided to ask that votes be counted again because “it’s not a large margin. Anyone in my position would have done the same thing.”
Weiler added, “I’m trying to stress the importance of our obligation as Americans to vote ... I’ve had lots of conversations with folks who voted at the Knights of Columbus Hall or elsewhere and were concerned about their votes counting.” Some who cast ballots heard about problems with machines, she explained.
A recount by hand “will insure that all votes are counted.”
McCoy said, “When somebody wins or loses by two, it’s probably not a bad idea to have a recount.”
Weiler paid a $137 filing fee, $13 for notifications to the judge’s candidates and county election board to be served by the sheriff’s office and a $300 bond for expenses, “which should more than cover what the expenses are going to be,” according to the clerk. If costs happen to exceed $300, “Weiler probably is going to have to pick them up.”
McCoy read from the document: “The petition hereby requests that ballot cards cast in precincts that use a ballot card system be counted manually” – Adams 1 and 3 and Laughery 1-1, 1-2 2-1, 3-1 and 3-2.
After notifications are delivered, Ripley County Superior Court Judge James Morris must appoint the recount commission, then he’ll set a date for the recount, according to the clerk.
Three persons will perform the job: a Democrat, a Republican and a mechanic, who handles the machines.
What about the provisional ballots that were cast? McCoy said, “We have three and the board has not met on those yet.” She will check with the Indiana Election Commission about how to handle provisional votes. Those must be resolved by noon Nov. 18.
The clerk’s office has until Dec. 20 to schedule and complete the recount, according to Weiler. “Neither of us has to be (there), but we both have the right to be.” The petitioner plans on attending.
McCoy reported an election recount is rare in Ripley County. She recalled one a few years ago done by the state and another many years ago when she served as clerk the first time.
“We’re open to answer any questions that anybody has. I really feel like the inspector, two judges and two clerks who work at each polling place do a marvelous job for what they get paid.” They arrive at 5 a.m. on Election Day and work until sometimes late into the evening.