The Daviess County Clerk’s Office received notice Tuesday that its proposal for the 13th Legislative District recount was approved by the House committee. The recount will take place Saturday at the county’s election warehouse behind the operations center.
“To be honest, we didn’t know what to expect, because this is the first time that we’ve done this,” said Chief Deputy Clerk Richard House.
House said the board of elections proposal was accepted with only one change. The original proposal stated that candidates must post a $10,200 bond with Daviess County Circuit Court before a recount would take place. Now the county attorney’s office will handle the money through an escrow account.
DJ Johnson agreed to the county clerk’s proposal as well.
“I will be taking a check in the amount of $10,200 down to the courthouse either Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning,” Johnson said. “I appreciate the effort and professionalism of the clerk’s office during this entire process.”
When asked if the Republican Party will be helping fund the recount, Johnson said he does have support, and did not want to further comment.
Saturday’s recount will look at 17 absentee ballots that were rejected on Election Day and a hand count of nearly 12,000 ballots will be conducted by the clerk’s office. Despite requesting both a recanvass and a recount, Johnson has maintained trust in the Daviess County Clerk’s Office. House said his office does not consider the recount to reflect poorly on the staff or the election process in Daviess County.
“When someone loses by this close a margin, you have to think they are going to pursue every avenue possible,” House said. “Elections are not easy to put on and when people are involved in any process there is always the chance for errors.”
According to House, the clerk’s office sends staff to every precinct throughout Election Day to check on poll workers, in effort to minimize errors.
“We strive for perfection; however, we know that it is not completely attainable,” House said. “In this election, just as in each one we handle, we did everything in our power to hold a fair and accurate election.”
In order to provide transparency of the recount process, the public and any stakeholders are welcome to attend Saturday. Johnson confirmed he intends to be present with legal representation. He said he believes members of the election contest committee from both parties will also be present.
This historical election recount falls on the clerk’s office, who just elected a new clerk in November. Leslie McCarty has been in office less than a month and will lead the recount process as the chairwoman of the board of elections.
“Naturally, there’s more explaining of processes to a new clerk, but we still have a job to do and Leslie has jumped in and been part of the planning with the county attorney,” House said. “This is new for everyone. We’ve never done a recount nor had a one-vote margin before. As a new clerk she’s not only having to go through the normal transition, but having a major leftover issue that no one’s really been dealt before is no easy task.”
House said the clerk’s office is ready to handle the recount and move on to the next election.
“We just want to get this behind us so we can get ready for the state primary races that will happen in less than four months and hopefully bring some finality to this contest,” House said.
Johnson said if the recount does not show a different result and Jim Glenn remains the 13th District representative, he plans to find someone in the General Assembly to sponsor legislation to overhaul the election contest protocol.
“It won’t be passed overnight or even in this session,” Johnson said. “But it will start the process.”