CHARLESTOWN — Charlestown Mayor Bob Hall will file for a recount in the 2019 municipal election mayoral race.
Hall said his attorney will file the paperwork requesting the formal recount this week. Hall, who has been mayor for a total of 16 years, was ousted earlier this month by political newcomer Treva Hodges, who received 30 more votes than the incumbent.
“Recounts are part of the process,” Hall said. “Very seldom does it change the outcomes, but there’s enough in this one we think it warrants a good look at.”
Hall, who received 1,324 votes to Hodges' 1,354, said he questions 150 of those votes.
"He has every right to file for a recount ... I do not anticipate it will change the outcome of the election," Hodges said. "I'm going to continue on with building my transition team and making plans to take office Jan. 1."
Clark County Clerk Susan Popp said since the votes are segregated by precinct, she doesn't anticipate the recount process taking long.
"I would allow for two weeks. I don't know it would take that long," Popp said. "It could be done in a week."
According to a representative with the Indiana Secretary of State who cited Ind. Code 3-12-6-10, the petitioner, in this case Hall, has to pay for the costs of the recount. If the recount finds that Hall won the majority of the vote, he would be refunded.
Hall said he questions some of the votes.
“Every day voter registration sends out a report that tells you how many people applied for an absentee or how many has walked into the courthouse and voted. We track that report every day. We tracked it all the way up to noon on Election Day and everything was tracking fine,” Hall said. “Then, all of a sudden, there was about 150 votes that showed up that were not absentees, or if they were they did not report them on their regular reporting, they held them back or something.”
Early voting ended at noon Monday, Nov. 4, the day before the election.
Popp said the votes to which Hall is referring were people voting the day before the election or mail-in ballots that were received. She said early voting results take a day to show up in the reports. Popp said a bi-partisan board, chosen by the respective party chairmen, reconciled every vote.
"They looked at the list on the electronic poll. They made sure there was a ballot for everyone who voted. There was not one more or one less. It was exact," Popp said.
Hall said he is also concerned about 16 people who applied for absentee ballots and voted.
“They did not show up on the list that was being presented [on Election Day] as absentees that were counted. That gave us 16 people we called to get them in to vote, even though they voted absentee,” Hall explained. “As they came out to the polls, they were told they already voted, but we were told they were not part of the absentee count. I called voter registration twice during that day to try to get clarification on whether they voted or not and never got a response. We don’t know if they were counted or not.”
"It was my understanding that on Election Day, they sent us a list of voters that were not showing as absentee, but we were able to show that they voted and their absentees were counted," Popp said.
Popp said provisional ballots are still being counted, since people have 10 days to provide necessary documentation. She said one reason someone may have to submit a provisional vote is by showing up on Election Day without an ID. She said that person would have to later bring their ID for their vote to count.
Popp said people are welcome to come by the voter registration office to see the process.
Hall said he wants a thorough recount and will support whatever those results show.
“I just hope … that we have the opportunity to know how the election turned out,” he said. “If my opponent wins the electors' vote, then I’m OK with that.”
Concerns have been swirling in Charlestown about the status of the city’s traditional Christmas events, which include lights, train rides and more.
“The recount will have no effect one way or another on Christmas. That’s a passion for our group. We will put it on. It’s for families. It’s not about us,” Hall said. “The only difference is, depending on the outcome of what our schedules are, because we have a whole staff that will be looking for other jobs, the last week is the only thing that is in question on what we can and can’t do.”
He said if he doesn’t have enough volunteers for the last week after Christmas, he will close the Family Activities Park portion, but all the Christmas lights will still be on. He said events like the train ride are often run by volunteers.
“We’re hoping everyone will stick with it and do it,” Hall said.