Here’s Western Wayne News’ full-length policy for letters to the editor. (We’re running an abbreviated policy in our print publication). WWN welcomes letters to the editor in advance of the Nov. 8 election and about other topics of local interest throughout the year. Letters about an issue in the fall election or in support of a candidate may be submitted now, and are due by 5 p.m. Friday, Oct.
Wayne County’s Democratic Party chair Beth Harrick shared this statement on the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 4, with local media regarding November 2020 Election Day and vote count proceedings. RELATED ARTICLE: WAYNE COUNTY ELECTION RESULTS ANNOUNCED
“Above the desire to elect any one candidate, the Wayne County Democratic Party is committed to protecting the interests of voters and the integrity of the election process. On October 28th we became aware of a serious discrepancy between the Indiana state statute (IC 3-11-14-30) and how Wayne County Poll Workers were being trained by the Wayne County Clerk’s office. The discrepancy was in regards to documenting the final per-precinct, per-candidate tally of votes at each polling site, prior to the election machinery being removed and taken to the Courthouse for a merged final count.
Wayne County might go another night before election results are made public. Bipartisan teams and the Voters Registration Office staff are painstakingly reviewing the nearly 3,700 mail-in absentee ballots cast in the 2020 election to make sure each one is counted. Wayne County Clerk Debra Berry said the process begins when a voter requests an absentee ballot. The voter is sent an absentee ballot and a secure envelope for its return. The voter marks their ballot and returns that ballot to the Voters Registration Office in the secure envelope.
Wayne County election officials are still winding down the count of votes collected Tuesday and in the preceding weeks through early voting, mailed ballots and the traveling board. Shortly before 1 p.m. Wednesday, no results were yet available on the county’s website. Polls closed at 6 p.m. Tuesday and few if any voters were standing in line at that time, based on a reporter’s visit to four of the county’s eight vote centers around that time. Wayne County Clerk Debra Berry said the mail-in absentee ballots and the ballots collected by the traveling poll board, who visit shut-ins and others, were a part of the delay in finishing the vote counting Tuesday night. Having to print the results tapes of results for each precinct at the polling places instead of bringing the equipment to the courthouse as usual also threw off the regular schedule and added more time to the counting, Berry said.
Wayne County election officials called off Tuesday’s vote count at 3 a.m. Wednesday. They will return when the courthouse opens at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday to continue counting. All of the results will be released at once. Continue to follow the Western Wayne News online for updates and results.
Richmond attorney Amy Noe Dudas spoke during WCTV’s election results show about her role in helping Wayne County Democratic Party on Tuesday as its legal counsel and why a change in the tabulation process means local election results are being released later than usual on Election Night. Dudas said the party discovered a discrepancy last week between the training the local poll workers receive and the state statute regarding Election Night printouts of vote counts. She said she thought that party officials had relayed their concern to the county clerk a few days ago that they were going to look for printouts to be made at each vote center on Election Night. They followed up on their request to make sure it would be carried out. Wayne County Clerk Debra Berry said Tuesday that the process since vote centers were introduced in Wayne County has been that when the vote centers close for Election Day, the inspector and judge have brought the equipment to the Voter Registration Office in the courthouse.
Wayne County election results are expected to be delayed tonight because of a change in the tabulation process. Wayne County Clerk Debra Berry said the process since vote centers were introduced in Wayne County has been that when the vote centers close for Election Day, the inspector and judge have brought the equipment to the Voter Registration Office in the courthouse. Once there, they would run the tapes — in other words, print the results — while simultaneously electronically tabulating the results for posting to the county website for the public and the media. However, Wayne County Democratic Party chairman Beth Harrick made a request last week that the tapes be run at each vote center, citing Indiana code 3-11-14-30, according to attorney Amy Noe Dudas, speaking during Whitewater Government Television’s Election Night coverage. The code says, “Subject to IC 3-12-2-5, as soon as the polls are closed, the inspector, in the presence of the judges and poll clerks, immediately shall secure each electronic voting system against voting and obtain at least one (1) paper printout of the total votes cast for each candidate and on each public question in that precinct.”
Once the Democratic Party followed up on its request in the afternoon on Election Day, the Wayne County Voter Registration Office contacted the state election board attorney for clarification, Dudas said.
Wayne County Election Board has voted to extend one Wayne County vote center for 30 minutes on Tuesday night, but that did not get approved by a judge. Election officials had a problem getting voting machines to work when the vote center opened at 6 a.m. at Mt. Olive Baptist Church, 1108 N. H St. in Richmond. It was eventually determined a bent prong in a cord kept the machines from working for approximately 26 minutes.
These are the polls open from 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. today in Wayne County, Indiana. You must be standing in line at 6 p.m. at a polling place to be allowed to vote after the polls close. Please visit our Western Wayne News Facebook page and be our “boots on the ground” throughout today to let other voters know where you are and about how much of a wait/line there is. Golay Center
1007 E Main St. Cambridge City
As of Wednesday, about 15,000 registered voters in Wayne County had cast an absentee or in-person absentee ballot. In-person absentee voting, also known as early voting, continues at four vote centers plus the courthouse on Thursday and Friday, and at the Kuhlman Center and courthouse on Saturday. Ballots also may be cast 8:30 a.m. to noon Monday at the courthouse. Eight vote centers will be open Tuesday for Election Day. “I assume there will be long lines on Election Day,” Wayne County Clerk Debra Berry said.