Around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, two state police sergeants had arrived at the Monroe County Elections Center at Madison and 7th Street to secure ballots and voting equipment used in the Nov. 8 general election.
It is standard procedure under state electoral law when a ballot recount is requested.
The recount in question relates to the District 62 state house race requested by the Monroe County Democratic Party (MCDP) the previous day, Monday.
The race was won by Republican Dave Hall, who had a confirmed tally of 12,990 votes, 40 more than Democrat Penny Githens.
The seizure warrant from Philip Sicuso, chief investigator for the state’s investigative commission, was served by Indiana State Police First Sergeants Dana Miller and Brad Stille.
The key part of the order is:
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the Indiana State Police promptly seize and secure the following election materials currently in possession of the Brown County Election Board, the Jackson County Election Board and the Monroe County Election Board
All of the counties in Indiana State House District 62, which is wholly within Brown County, Jackson County, and Monroe County:
(1) All ballots and voting systems…
(2) All tally lists and plan sheets…
(3) All electoral lists and electronic election books …
(4) Any election materials, records or equipment…
Seizure activities were also scheduled to take place in Brown and Jackson counties and Monroe County on Tuesday. It is Brown, Jackson and Monroe counties that are at least partially absorbed by State House District 62. During the recounting process, counters will travel between counties, but ballots will not.
In Monroe County, to seize and secure the list of items, state troopers posted “Keep Out” notices and access log sheets and taped doors at three locations: in the polling station polling station; the room for high-speed scanners in the voting center; and the room in the Showers building that stores scanners and ballot books for Election Day.
State police officers also photographed the interior of each room before sealing it, and then photographed the sealed state of each room from the outside. They also photographed the keys to each room that they kept.
It is not clear how the confiscation of ballots and voting equipment for the District 62 race recount will affect another upcoming recount requested for the Benton Township Board Race. The Benton Township Board’s race recount is limited to Monroe County — a process handled by the Monroe County District Court.
The MCDP request relates to a manual recount, meaning that the recount will not be done simply by running all of the ballots from each district through an optical scanning machine like Election Day. Instead, the ballots are counted by hand.
The manual recount request only applies to Monroe and Brown counties because both of those counties use paper ballots.
Photos: State Police Seize Ballots from Nov. 8, 2022 Election (Nov. 29, 2022)