Clark Co. Clerk says printing error prevented processing of abse - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Clark Co. Clerk says printing error prevented processing of absentee ballots

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For the first time in Clark County history, the clerk's office counted absentee ballots in one location using a new machine called the DS-850. For the first time in Clark County history, the clerk's office counted absentee ballots in one location using a new machine called the DS-850.

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- The Clark County Republican party will ask for a recount in two, close city council races after questions arose about a delay in counting absentee ballots.

The party has ten days to ask for the recount in the Jeffersonville city council at-large and Sellersburg district 1 elections, GOP county chairman and sheriff Jamey Noel said.

The decision to seek a recount caps a busy Wednesday for election officials, after an even busier election day.

“There was a lot of frustration and then there was a lot of concern,” Clark County Clerk Susan Popp said.

For the first time in Clark County history, the clerk's office counted absentee ballots in one location using a new machine called the DS-850.

"The vision was we'll do what they call central count, where the ballots stay in our office with a bipartisan team," she explained.

About 3,540 ballots went through the machine on Election Day.

"The problem was it kicked out about a third of the ballots because it couldn't read it," she said.

But it didn't take her office long to figure out what went wrong.

“When we looked at the ballots that were initially sent out, it had verbiage on it, it said connect arrow," Popp said.

Only a third of the ballots had the instruction box -- something the machine wasn't programmed to read.

“Once we realized this is the problem we were able to segregate those."

Pairs of one Democrat and one Republican had to read the ballots and copy the votes onto a new ballot form.

They fed those into the machine--and the problem was solved.

“That's what happened. We had this very efficient system in place, but at least we know why it happened,” Popp said.

But for some candidates, that explanation isn't enough.

It looked as if Republican Steven Webb would take over the third at-large seat for Jeffersonville council.

“But when the absentee ballots came back they had me behind 13 and 10 votes and with it that close I just feel that is was necessary to have a recount," she said. "You'd think they have this voting thing figured out after 200 years. It's not that hard, but absentee ballots have always been controversial, locally and nationally.”

But the clerk is still standing behind the new absentee ballot system.

“This machine performed beautifully," she said. "This is a printing error. If the ballots would have been printed correctly we would have been fine.”

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