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November 8, 2012

Turnout led to big Election Day problems in Clark County

Clerk says training issues caused problems; Republican party chair disagrees

(Continued)

CLARK COUNTY — BALLOT SHORTAGES

According to Haas, the county ordered enough ballots to accommodate 90 percent of Clark County’s registered voters, but started each polling location with 50 percent of the total number of registered voters set to vote at each location. Some locations started to run out early in the day.

“The reason we don’t put 100 percent in there, is because you might have 20 percent turnout at one precinct and an 80 percent turnout over here, and they are instructed at the training that when your ballots get down to two packages, you call voter registration and people are dispatched to bring you more,” Haas said. “There was some downfall on that. They were calling their county chairman, their county chairman was calling me, and then I was calling voter registration. If they’d have called directly to voter registration, those would have been dispatched lots faster.”

But Noel took issue with Haas’ characterization of the ballot problems.

“There’s no truth to that whatsoever,” Noel said. “I had inspectors call me and say, ‘Hey, I called two hours ago and requested ballots,’ and I actually called the Republican election board member and [Haas] personally to say, ‘Hey, this location’s out of ballots,’ because inspectors started calling me and saying they couldn’t get people at voter registration to either, A, answer the phone, or said, ‘Hey, I called in two hours ago and told them I needed ballots.’

On some of the problems, the two agree on the facts. Ballots — which are specific to polling locations — slated to be taken to the Union 1 precinct, which was located at Rock Creek Community Academy, were instead taken to the Owen Township location. The problem took hours to resolve because of a shortage of people to make ballot runs and the geographic size of the county, Haas said.

A Democrat and a Republican must be together whenever ballots are handled, according to Indiana law. Making sure both were present was a challenge throughout the day, Haas said.

“We were calling party chairmen and saying we need more people up here,” Haas said. “Well, we’d get a couple of Democrats, and we’d have to wait for a Republican to get here. Or we’d have a couple of Republicans, and we’d have to wait for a Democrat to get here before we could send them out.”

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