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Monday, Apr. 21, 2014

Recount proves every vote is important

Posted Friday, December 12, 2008, at 3:50 PM

Any registered voter in Greene County who says their vote is not important had better talk to Rae Della Cravens and Ken Gremore.

Both are seeking the third of three at-large seats on the Greene County Council.

Now 39 days after the polls closed, Gremore and Cravens are still wondering which one of them will raise their right hand Jan. 1 and take the oath of office.

They've been campaigning for months, the election was held, a recount was conducted and as the tally stands the race is a deadheat -- it's tied.

I guess local election officials could come up with some kind of tiebreaker skills event to decide a winner.

I've heard a variety of suggestions this week on how we could settle this election standoff.

How about rock, paper, scissors?

What about a coin flip?

Do you think it would be fair for the candidates to arm wrestle, run a foot race or deal some cards in a winner-takes-all poker game?

Or since we do reside in the basketball crazy state of Indiana, how about taking the candidates down to Guy Glover Gym in Bloomfield and have them each shoot 10 free throws. The one who sinks the most wins.

But this is much more serious stuff.

The two rural Bloomfield residents have engaged in a lot of one-on-one door knocking seeking votes, walked in countless festival parades and attended more fish frys and bean dinners than they could ever imagine.

To top it off, Gremore even had his SUV stolen while beating on doors in Linton about a week or so before the election.

Three council seats were contested Nov. 4.

Taylor Township resident William "Butch" Brown, a Democrat topped the council race on Election Day and easily won a third term.

Jerry Frye, from Bloomfield, was second -- 240 votes back.

The winner of third seat is anyone's guess -- even after a two-day recount.

Determining a winner before the end of the year is now up to the County Council.

If they can't make a decision -- and that's entirely possible because Indiana Code prevents Gremore from casting a vote in picking the successor -- the ball will be tossed to the Greene County Commissioners.

There is no doubt politics will play a part in who is finally deemed the winner. That's to be expected. After all, this is a political race.

Looking at the political make-up, without Gremore's vote, the current council is split -- three Democrats and three Republicans.

On the commissioners, the Democrats have a 2-1 edge.

There have been other recounts in past years, but to emerge from a recount deadlocked is something that I'm not sure has ever happened in Greene County or very often in the entire state.

You know the shame about this particular race is someone at the end of the day is going to go home without a seat on the council.

These are two fine and qualified candidates -- either one of which will do a wonderful job representing the people of the county. I think the razor-thin closeness of the ballot results affirm that Greene County will be the winner and well served no matter how it all shakes out.

To give you a brief account, Cravens held a three-vote lead on election night. The margin shrunk to one-vote following action by the Greene County Election Board on the Friday after the election when two late-arriving military absentee ballots were tallied in Gremore's favor.

Gremore then huddled with county Republican Party leaders and a decision was made to ask for a recount of all 32 precincts in the council race. The GOP candidate emerged from the recount with a net gain of one vote -- producing the tie.

What's really sad about this whole mess is a good number of absentee ballots -- possibly as many as 50 or 60 -- that were cast in this election were not tallied for a variety of reasons. Some of them had nothing to do with the intentions of the voters.

Among the reasons some votes were not counted included -- omitted signatures on ballot cards and absentee voter applications, missed deadlines for returning filled out ballots, returned ballots that were not delivered by the Postal Service because of bad addresses; and missing signatures on ballot cards from polls workers and other election staff.

There was even one ballot from a voter who passed away after they voted, but prior to Election Day. That vote was voided.

I bet both Ken and Rae Della would really like to know how many of all those disputed votes -- that were cast, but not tallied -- they might have received.

Every vote is important.

Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487 or by e-mail at schneider.nick@gmail.com or nschneider@gcdailyworld.com .

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