Warrick County Officials Look at 'Archaic' Methods to Count Every Vote

Previous errors resulting in thousands of votes going uncounted are prompting election officials to build in more accountability using pen and paper.


To ensure this year’s primary and general elections in Warrick County don’t exclude any votes, like the 3,791 not counted in 2012 general election, the Warrick County Clerk’s Office plans to implement some “archaic” checks and balances in May.

Having every vote count is Warrick County Clerk Sarah Redman’s top concern, she said.

“When I say archaic, I mean old pen and paper that I want (them) to jot down. I don’t want to go by any reports that shoot out of a computer,” Redman said.

She’s proposing comparing logs from precinct polling locations, the absentee board and the canvassing board with the votes tallied by the technician on Election Day.

On Monday, Warrick County officials revealed that 3,791 absentee votes cast early in the November 2012 election at voting machines inside the clerk’s office were not counted due to human error.

Redman said a technician with MicroVote, the county’s supplier and service-provider of direct electronic voting machines, did not use the correct method for transferring votes from the machine to a computer used to total results.

Redman’s 2012 vote was one of those 3,700 lost ballots.

“So it hits home. It really does,” she said Tuesday afternoon.

While she said several groups missed the error, she said she’s confident this was an “isolated” event and won’t happen again.

The details and logistics of the new accountability system will be worked out in the coming weeks, she said. Getting 450 poll workers across 59 precincts in the county to do more paperwork may be trying, but the paperwork is “imperative,” she said.

In previous years, efforts to catch errors were focused on mail-in absentee ballots, which generally are where errors occur, she said. Whenever the new accountability system is implemented, it will give Warrick County election officials the opportunity to catch a discrepancy immediately, she said.

“In the future we’re going to look at all aspects together as a whole and not just put our faith in a machine,” she said.

On Monday, Secretary of State Connie Lawson said has requested an independent, nonpartisan review by Voting System Technical Oversight Program of MicroVote’s voting report and their totaling procedures used in the 2012 fall elections. That review developed by VSTOP will be administered in the 47 counties statewide that use MicroVote’s technology for direct electronic voting.

Redman said she’s already asked for VSTOP to come to Warrick County for a review.

©2014 the Evansville Courier & Press (Evansville, Ind.)