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Bartholomew County Democrats File Recount Petition

The Republican city council candidate garnered two more votes than his Democratic opponent, according to the official vote count.

Columbus City Hall

Photo: Indiana Public Media News

A seat for Columbus' city council is up for debate because of a close margin in the November elections.

The Bartholomew County Democratic Party has filed a recount petition in an attempt to change the outcome of a city council race decided by just two votes.

On Election Night, Republican 3rd District candidate Frank Jerome, a Columbus dentist, garnered two more votes than his Democratic challenger Greg Noel.  Democrats chose to wait two weeks to file a recount – the length of time allotted for overseas ballots to be counted. Ten ballots went out, five came back and none affected the 3rd district.

Democratic Party Chair Jaimie Johns says Noel had decided if even one of those votes went against him, he would forego a recount.

“However, when none of the ballots affected him, that left a two-vote margin. And so if just one of the absentee ballots was accidentally voted for his opponent, Dr. Frank Jerome, instead of him, that would make things totally different and cause at least a tie in the election,” Johns says.

State law stipulates that a party may choose to recount any or all of the precincts in a race. By statute, it costs $100 to recount the first ten. Since Columbus’ third district has just eight – four won by Jerome and four by Noel – it will not cost extra. If Noel’s margin decreases by even a single vote, he is also entitled to some or all of his cash back.

If one of Jerome’s votes is invalidated or should have been counted for Noel, the Democrat is entitled to a refund of half of his $100 bond. If he is found to have won the race, he gets not only a seat on the city council, but all of his cash back, too.

Johns says Bartholomew Circuit Judge Stephen Heimann will now empanel a bipartisan recount panel to look over as many votes as Noel chooses.

Stan Jastrzebski

WFIU/WTIU News Senior Editor Stan Jastrzebski spent time as a reporter with WGN Radio in Chicago and as an editor at Network Indiana, an Indianapolis news service. Stan is the winner of awards from the Associated Press, the RTDNA, the Indiana Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He hosts WFIU's Ask the Mayor and anchors WTIU's InFocus.

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