JEFFERSONVILLE — Republican Kelly Harrod was announced as the winner of the race for Clark County Clerk of the Circuit Court on Election Day with a 21-vote advantage over Democrat Susan Popp. His advantage increased by four votes Nov. 14, when the county election board counted provisional and challenged absentee ballots.
Harrod hopes that once a hand recount of the race is completed at the end of next week, he’ll be declared victor a third time.
Attorneys for Harrod and Clark County Democratic Party Chairman Tom Galligan, who filed the petition requesting the recount, appeared in Circuit Court No. 4 on Monday for a hearing before Senior Judge Cile Blau, whom the two parties agreed to have as the special judge for the recount. During the hearing, the recount commissioners for the Republican and Democratic parties were revealed, but a disagreement over who should be the third commissioner was not determined until later Monday afternoon.
Serving on the recount commission for the Republican Party will be Tom Lowe, an attorney who has served as the Jeffersonville corporation attorney and the judge of the now-defunct Sellersburg Town Court.
The Democratic Party will be represented by retiree Greg Isgrigg, a former county commissioner, county councilman, Clarksville clerk-treasurer and Clarksville Town Council president.
The third commissioner will be Susan Clark, an employee of Election Systems & Software, the county’s vendor for election machines. Democrat attorneys David Mosley and Mickey Weber had argued that William “Bubby” Vissing would be the appropriate choice to serve in the role, as Vissing is contracted by the county to service the voting machines.
“I think his knowledge of the Clark County voting system would be absolutely irreplaceable,” Weber said.
Republican Party attorney objected to appointing Vissing on the grounds that Vissing has ties to the Democratic Party and said that Vissing’s contract for maintaining the voting machines could potentially be affected by the outcome of the recount.
Wilder noted that Harrod did not share Wilder’s skepticism toward Vissing, but argued that a representative of ES&S would be more objective, as the Omaha, Neb.-based company doesn’t have a stake in the outcome of the election.
Blau expressed concern about the company’s ability to provide a representative in a timely manner, and Wilder agreed that Vissing would be suitable if ES&S wasn’t able to get someone in town for the recount within a reasonable amount of time.
Clark will arrive in Jeffersonville on Tuesday evening, and the recount will begin Wednesday morning in the county council’s chambers on the fourth floor of the Clark County Government Building. Isgrigg and Lowe will meet Tuesday morning to set the rules for the recount, Wilder said.
The deadline for the recount results is Dec. 20, but the recount is expected to take about seven days to complete Wilder said. That means that the recount could be completed by Dec. 11, or Dec. 9 if the recount commissioners agree to work through the weekend, he said.
Recounts are open for public observation.