Monroe County Clerk Linda Robbins says vote counting will likely take until at least Thursday following Tuesday’s delays hand-counting paper ballots. Tabulation stopped around 2 a.m. Wednesday morning – eight hours after polls had closed — with just a handful of precincts counted.
On Wednesday afternoon, Robbins and other election board members delayed counting again to hear a presentation from representatives of a company whose electronic equipment the county may buy for 2012’s elections – but only if a decision can be reached about whether the county will adopt vote centers.
“I’ll tell you one thing – we’ll never do this again,” Robbins says. “We will never do this again. The reason we are where we are now is because we don’t have equipment and our equipment purchase is on hold until we make a decision as an election board whether to go to vote centers or to do precinct voting.”
If Monroe County becomes a vote center county, it would shrink the number of voting locations by about three-fourths, but voters would be able to vote at any location in the county. Robbins says it’s the difference between ordering 80 sets of machines or 20.
And that decision, held up for months by a lack of unanimity on the election board, must be made by December first, she says. Another reason for the delay was the counting of votes in uncontested races – something only done in a handful of counties in Indiana this election cycle.
Robbins made the decision to defy an opinion from the Secretary of State’s office and put the races on Monroe County ballots, but seemed unsure Wednesday whether that decision had the unintended consequence of increasing the time needed to count votes by hand.
“No, I don’t think it would. And, and, and primarily because we have some…you’re going to go through the ballots…maybe a little bit extra,” she says. “But you know what? I still think the voters’ intent and disenfranchising the voter by not allowing them to know who was on the ballot was worth it.”
Robbins and other election board members met Wednesday afternoon to determine how to proceed with the vote count.