More than 24 hours after polls closed in Wayne County, the unofficial election results were released to the public via the Voters Registration website.
Familiar faces are returning to Wayne County coroner and clerk offices as well as some of its school boards. They also voted overwhelmingly for Republican candidates in state and national races.
After a few years away from the office, Kevin Fouche, a Republican, was elected again as coroner with 66.63 percent of the vote over Robert “Brent” Meadows.
Meadows registered as a Libertarian to run this fall after Fouche defeated Wayne Loudy in the GOP primary. Fouche received 15,576 votes compared to 7,892 for Meadows.
STRAIGHT TICKET POPULARITY
About 53.5 percent of all local voters in this election cast a straight-party ballot.
Wayne County recorded 28,041 ballots cast this fall.
The Republican Party received 10,019 straight-ticket votes, which was 66.81 percent of the straight tickets selected this fall.
The Democratic Party received 4,740 straight party votes, or 31.61 percent of those types of ballots cast.
The Libertarian Party received 237 straight party votes, or 1.58 percent.
Incumbent Wayne County Clerk Debra Berry, a Republican, won re-election, with 18,323 votes, defeating challenger C. Yvonne Washington, a Democrat, who received 8,825 votes.
Voters in the Nettle Creek, Northeastern and Richmond school districts were to choose candidates in a few races.
All Centerville-Abington and Western Wayne candidates up for election this fall were unopposed.
Andy Wandersee, Renee Westover and Todd Duke serve on the Centerville-Abington board and Alan Austin and Sarah Pennington represent Western Wayne.
Two Richmond candidates Nicole Stults and Brad Walton, and two Nettle Creek candidates, David Moore and Dan Davis Jr., were unopposed in their districts.
The Nettle Creek school board will have three new members, two at-large and one representing District C.
The school district is primarily in Wayne County, but encompasses a portion of Henry County.
In the contested election for the two open at-large seats, Julie Blaase and Sandra Schraub edged out Everett Hampton. The incumbent seat-holders, Cary Rhoades and Eric Richardson, chose not to run for re-election.
Blaase received 1,510 votes in Wayne County and 150 in Henry County for a total of 1,660, the most in the race.
Schraub received 1,176 votes in Wayne County and 143 in Henry County for a total of 1,319.
Hampton received 971 votes in Wayne County and 103 in Henry County for total of 1,074.
In District C, newcomer David Moore was unopposed. Incumbent Bob Clark chose not to run again. Moore received 1,884 votes in Wayne County and 221 in Henry County.
Incumbent board member Dan Davis Jr., the current board president, was unopposed in seeking re-election. He received 2,098 votes in Wayne County and 229 in Henry County.
The Northeastern school board will have two new members, with one incumbent returning.
In District B, incumbent Keith Webster, the current board president, was re-elected. He received 1,083 votes while his challenger, Patrick Barker, received 807 votes.
In District C, incumbent Douglas Jay lost a three-way race to newcomer Kristy Anderson. Anderson received 862 votes, while Jay received 589 and Amy Fouche received 453.
In District D, newcomer Shawntel Baker was unopposed, receiving 1,608 votes. The current seat holder, Chris Dingwerth, chose not to run for re-election.
Richmond residents re-elected Aaron Stevens and John Weber to their at-large seats on the Richmond Community Schools board. Voters could choose two of the three candidates.
Stevens, a longtime board member and Richmond Police Department officer, received 51.26 percent of the vote, with Weber coming in second with 25.93 percent. Weber, who owns his own business, was appointed to the board in April 2016 and elected to his first term later that year.
Challenger Douglas Borgsdorf, a newcomer to local elections, finished third with 22.8 percent. He is a Business Unit Director for Primex Plastics in Richmond.
Wayne County voters gave 63.45 percent of their votes to incumbent President Donald Trump and Mike Pence, a former Indiana governor who earlier represented Wayne and surrounding counties in the House of Representatives. Former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, who are Democrats, finished with 34.4 percent in the county. Libertarian candidates Jo Jorgensen and Jeremy “Spike” Cohen received 2.06 percent of the votes, with Howie Hawkins getting 20 votes, and Brian Carroll received 3.
Incumbent Gov. Eric Holcomb and Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch received 61.24 percent of local votes, with Democrat Woody Myers and running mate Linda Lawson getting 27.27 percent. Libertarian Donald Rainwater II and William Henry received 11.48 percent.
Republican Greg Pence of the Columbus area won re-election to the 6th District House of Representatives seat formerly held by his brother Mike with 63.02 percent of the vote. Democrat Jeannine Lee Lake of Muncie received 32.64 percent, and local Libertarian Tom Ferkinhoff received 4.33 percent.
Republicans also led in the Indiana races for attorney general, with Todd Rokita getting 65.7 percent of local votes over Democrat Jonathan Weinzapfel.
Local voters overwhelmingly voted to retain all of the Indiana Court of Appeals and Supreme Court judges on the ballot, each receiving between 82 to 85 percent of ballots cast.
ABOUT THE DELAY
Of about 43,000 registered voters, 28,041 — or about 65 percent — cast ballots.
Early voting, in-person absentee voting and mail-in absentee voting accounted for 21,734 ballots. Another 6,307 were cast on Election Day.
The Voters Registration Office staff and Election Board members began work tallying the pre-election day votes early on Election Day and worked until 3 a.m. Wednesday before calling a halt to the process.
They staff and board members returned to counting at 8 a.m. Wednesday and completed the painstaking process at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Several issues contributed to the delay, including changes in the process not previously practiced in Wayne County and reconciling the number of mail-in absentee ballots to their secure delivery envelopes and to actual votes scanned and accounted for.
In a news release distributed Wednesday evening, Wayne County Clerk Debra Berry again discussed the delays.
“Officials were unable to balance voting records due to technical issues with the scanning equipment,” Berry said in the release.
Also in the release, on behalf of the Election Board, Berry thanked everyone for their patience and understanding for the delay in producing the results.
Keeping track of the nearly 3,700 mail-in absentee ballots is a process that begins when a voter requests an absentee ballot, Berry said. 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.
Those envelopes are stored safely until Election Day when a bipartisan team opens each envelope.
The ballots are removed. The envelopes are counted. The ballots are scanned and counted. And then the number of ballots counted, and envelopes counted must match.
But it has been a challenge to reconcile the number of envelopes and ballots.
“We have so many mail-in ballots to go through,” Berry said earlier Wednesday. “Every one is being accounted for and each scanned.
“We just want to have the correct numbers,” Berry said.
By making sure all totals match and all votes are accounted for, Berry hopes to avoid what happened last year, when the early vote results and Election Day results were not merged together properly — an issue caused by the county’s voting software vendor — resulting in wrong vote totals being released to the public.
Although the results released on Election Day are always unofficial, with the final, official count being certified 10 days later (Nov. 13), Berry wanted to make sure there were no discrepancies between the unofficial and official results.
Wayne County’s Election Board is scheduled to meet at 1 p.m. Nov. 13 to complete the ballot certification.
Local non-school board candidates facing no opposition this fall included State Reps. Brad Barrett (District 56) and Tom Saunders (District 54). Saunders, a longtime incumbent, received 1,627 votes in Wayne County and 17,283 in Henry County. Barrett is completing his first term.
Wayne County races that were unopposed included Superior Court 2 Judge Greg Horn, Superior Court 3 Judge Darrin Dolehanty, treasurer Nancy Funk, surveyor Gordon Moore, Wayne County Commissioners Mary Anne Butters (District 2) and Jeff Plasterer (District 3), and Wayne County Council at-large representatives Gary Saunders, Max Smith and Cathy Williams.
Hagerstown town elections were won by Clerk-Treasurer Julie Neal, Judge Susan Bell and at-large council members Allan Bullock, Becky Diercks and Fred Dill.
– By Rachel Sheeley and Millicent Martin Emery