JEFFERSONVILLE — Parties in the Jeffersonville City Council At-large recount appeal will have to wait a couple more weeks, as the judge won't issue a ruling until the week of March 7 at the earliest.
City Councilman Steve Webb, Republican, and opponent Democrat Josh Rodriquez concluded court proceedings Friday after their attorneys argued why they believe the recount should or shouldn't hold up as it is. Clark County Circuit Court No. 1 Judge Andrew Adams gave parties until March 8 to submit their facts and findings and said he'd try to issue his ruling that week.
Rodriquez won the third of three at-large seats in the November election by a 14-vote margin, but Webb came out on top after a recount.
Larry Wilder, Webb's attorney, asked the judge to dismiss his previous election contest — the procedural move that could result in a special election.
Adams said he would consider Wilder's dismissal, along with all the other request, before he makes a decision.
David Mosley, Rodriquez's attorney, asked Adams to throw out the entire recount and stick with election night results, or at least reconsider some ballots.
"[I'm] trying to demonstrate that the recount process was procedurally defective so that we do not know what the proper outcome of the recount is," Mosley said.
He demonstrated several reasons he believes the process was "messed up," some he argued in-depth during a previous hearing Feb. 11. On Friday, the judge considered the votes of 17 ballots at Mosley's request.
When recount teams hand-counted ballots, they set aside any that raised question or concern, thus challenging those ballots. Mosley argued that Rodriquez should have received votes from 17 of those challenged ballots, of which the commission either threw out or gave to other candidates.
"We kept track of the different ballots that were Josh Rodriquez votes that were rejected by the recount commission, and this is the list we have," Mosley said. "I believe that it is true and that it is accurate."
Wilder objected to the reconsideration of all 17 ballots because the recount commission, when originally considering them, didn't mark their decisions on each.
Votes could be counted twice, Wilder said.
"I don't think ... throwing out people's ballots is the answer to the question," Mosley responded.
County Clerk Susan Popp was put back on the witness stand Friday, essentially to rehash in greater detail how absentee ballots were handled on election night.
Wilder went through state statute and asked Popp if she followed procedure, line by line. There were some procedures that weren't followed, such as marking serial numbers on duplicated ballots that voting machines couldn't read. Wilder asked the judge to throw out all absentee ballots because the law wasn't followed every step of the way — though Popp has said she acted on advice from a representative of the voting machine manufacturer.
If the judge reverts back to election night totals, he should exclude absentee votes, Wilder argued, because he can't pick and choose when and when the law shouldn't be followed.
"Judge, when I stand up and say, 'We must follow the law,' [Mosley and Rodriquez] laugh. They scoff. They roll their eyes and they roll their head," Wilder said. "[They believe] we must follow the procedure when it’s to their advantage.
" ... I have a difficult time understanding how they believe they win because they believe the recount procedure was not proper, but that it’s OK to disregard the law."
Mosley said he doesn't believe it's OK that remade absentee ballots weren't serialized.
"It doesn't matter in the sense that [in] the recount ... the original ballots cast by the voters were counted," he said.
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