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No changes after overlooked precinct tallied

A mishap in the vote-recording process led to a precinct ‘ Northeast Posey ‘ being left out of the initial vote count on Primary Election night in Harrison County. However, none of the races were close enough for the added votes to make a difference.
The 326 ballots cast in Northeast Posey were added to the official total the following day after an email from this newspaper questioned why there were no results for Northeast Posey. (The newspaper discovered election night that the results sheet showed zero votes cast.)
David Neel of CyberTek, the IT firm for the county, said Northeast Posey was not properly scanned in at the Government Center on election night.
‘The issue was, the card for the handicap unit was entered, but the general population card was not in the proper location, so it was not scanned last night (Tuesday),’ he said.
It was scanned Wednesday afternoon, with proper election officials present, he said.
‘It appears that no parties realized the numbers were missing until the newspaper caught it, not even those who were watching the numbers being scrolled in the meeting rooms or the technician scanning the cards,’ Circuit Court Clerk Sally Whitis said. ‘We had changed the process for turning in equipment, and we have new personnel who have not worked an election before.
‘In the fall, we will have a better checklist system and know that all cards are turned in before processing,’ she said.
The new total narrowed the gap between lead vote-getter Jennie Engleman Capelle in the Republican at-large county council race to one over Donnie Hussung. Capelle finished with 3,262 votes to Hussung’s 3,261.
The addition of the overlooked precinct votes also closed the gap between third (the final spot to move on to the General Election) and fourth in the GOP council race from 194 to 131 votes; however, Gary Byrne still finished ahead of current councilman Jim Heitkemper. Heitkemper’s home voting precinct is Northeast Posey.
‘If I would have focused all my efforts on Lanesville it could have made a difference,’ two-term at-large councilman Heitkemper said. ‘I always knew what I was up against.’
Heitkemper also served as District 3 Commissioner from 2003 to 2007.
The voter turnout percentage, at 44 percent of registered voters (11,568 out of 26,013), was nearly double that of the 2012 Primary Election and surpassed the 2008 turnout of 43 percent.
The total number of registered voters was down significantly from the 2012 primary (3,341 voters), most likely due to Secretary of State Connie Lawson’s effort to update voter registration information through the voter list refresh project initiated a couple years ago to ‘provide a more accurate view of voter turnout and protect the integrity of elections.’
In 2014, 2,868 Harrison County registrations were found to be inactive, 104 were updated and 81 were canceled.
The county now has a total of 2,125 inactive registered voters. Inactive voters are those with unconfirmed or inaccurate information who haven’t voted for several election cycles.
Residents can call the Harrison County Circuit Court office at 812-738-4289 to check on voter status.
The total number of Republican ballots cast more than doubled that of Democrats, 7,821 to 3,747.
With the completion of the Primary Election, the focus turns to the Nov. 8 General Election.
Voter registration is now open for those who are not registered or have changed their residency. To register, visit the Harrison County Circuit Court office in the downtown courthouse, call the office (number listed above) or visit harrisoncounty.in.gov.
Voter registration will conclude at the end of the business day on Tuesday, Oct. 11.
County races set for November include a contest between two Corydon residents, incumbent Kenny Saulman, a Republican, and Democrat political newcomer Aaron Haggard, for the Commissioner District 2 (Franklin, Harrison and Webster townships) seat.
Candidates must live in the district boundaries, but voting is not restricted to district residents. All Harrison County voters have commissioners’ races on their ballots.
The county council at-large race will have a full slate of three Democrats ‘ Sandy Gettelfinger, Houston Mathes and James Yeager ‘ and three Republicans, Byrne, Capelle and Hussung.
Regardless of the outcome, it will be a complete change next January with three new faces in the at-large seats.
The top three vote-getters will fill the seats of current at-large councilpersons Richard Gerdon, who did not seek re-election; Sherry Brown, who is the GOP nominee for county clerk; and Heitkemper, who fell one position shy (fourth out of seven) of advancing to the General Election on the Republican ticket.
The coroner race will pit Gary Gilley, former vice chair for the local Democrat party who is running as a Republican, versus Willard M. Haas, a Democrat.
The following county races at this point only have GOP candidates (with nominee listed): Circuit Court Judge, incumbent John T. Evans; Circuit Court Clerk, Sherry Brown; recorder, Debbie Dennison; surveyor, incumbent Harold Klinstiver; and Commissioner District 1 (Blue River, Jackson, Morgan and Spencer townships), Charlie Crawford, who defeated Phil Smith in the Primary.
The Democrat party has until Thursday, June 30, at noon to select a candidate to fill any of the vacancies.
The Indiana Ninth District Congressional Representative race will feature Shelli Yoder on the Democrat side against Republican Trey Hollingsworth. The winner will succeed Todd Young, who is the GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Dan Coats. Young will face former Ninth District Congressman Baron Hill, who was unopposed on the Democrat ticket in the primary.
The Indiana District 70 race will feature Heidi Cade Sellers on the Democrat side and Harrison County Auditor Karen Engleman for the GOP. Sellers lost to current representative Rhonda Rhoads (who did not seek re-election) in 2014 by about 3,400 votes.
In a rematch from 2012, incumbent Gov. Mike Pence will face challenger John R. Gregg. Pence topped Gregg by a little more than 3 percent in 2012.
The General Election also will include school board races.
North Harrison Community School Corp. will have two seats (Morgan Township, held by Gary Byrne, who will not seek re-election because of his bid for county council, and Blue River Township held by Gregg Oppel) on the ballot.
There will be three seats on the ballot for the South Harrison Community School Corp.: the Boone/Taylor Township seat, currently held by Shelly M. Romero; the Posey Township seat, held by Melinda Wibbels; and the Harrison Township seat, held by Larry Hauswald.
Three of the five at-large seats for the Lanesville Community School Corp. will be on the ballot. Those seats are currently held by Denzil McKim, Sharon Rothrock and Robert Schickel.
The first day a person can file a petition to be a school board candidate is Wednesday, July 27. The deadline to file is Friday, Aug. 26, at noon.

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