400-500 Hancock County ballots had errors, officials say
Update: Hancock County officials now believe the number of faulty ballots from Tuesday’s primary is somewhere between 400 and 500. After examining the ballots from five voting locations, only ballots from the Ninestar polling site appear to have errors. Tuesday night, and Wednesday morning, election officials thought about 2,000 ballots had errors.
Based on the new numbers, Hancock County Clerk Marcia Moore does not believe any outcomes from the primary election will change.
GREENFIELD, Ind – Election officials in Hancock County are reviewing and recounting roughly 2,000 primary election ballots after a computer error left some candidates out of the tally.
Election officials learned Tuesday morning that ballots at five voting centers did not include the race for County Commissioner. Voters at the five locations received ballots without the race from 6-10:26am. After 10:26 a.m., the issue was corrected and ballots were correct for the rest of the election day.
When votes were being tabulated after the polls closed, the computer that reads the ballots interpreted the missing race as the end of the ballot. As a results, votes for County Council, State Convention Delegate and Precinct Committeemen were not counted on ballots that did not include the Commissioner’s race.
Election officials initially thought the error only occurred at one voting center, but they learned Tuesday night that a total of five voting centers had been affected. Those voting centers were The Hancock County Fairgrounds, the County Annex, Ninestar, Vineyard Community Church and Washington Village.
Only Republican ballots were affected because Hancock County Democrats did not have any candidates running for County Commissioner.
Hancock County officials say the votes for those other races do exist, but they were not counted in the results Tuesday evening.
Election officials and party representatives gathered Wednesday morning to sort though the 2,000 ballots. They were going through each one to see how many did not include the Commissioner’s race and to recover the votes for the other races that were not tabulated Tuesday evening.
If the votes for those other races can be recovered, they will be added into the totals collected Tuesday night.
As of now, there is nothing to be done to account for the missing votes for County Commissioner. Hancock County had races occurring in three Commissioners districts.
Hancock County Clerk Marcia Moore said party officials or one of the candidates would have to contest the election in order to conduct any kind of special election.
Election Systems & Software, the ballot vendor, had representatives on hand as the ballots were being reexamined Wednesday morning.
The ballot error followed other problems early in the day in Hancock County. Computers at some voting centers had trouble connecting to servers, causing a 45-minute delay at several voting sites.