The Whitley County Fiscal Court is getting two new fiscal court members next year, and one new constable.
In the Second Magistrate District, incumbent Lon “Chuck” Head was upset by challenger Mondo Cima, and in the Fourth Magistrate District two-term incumbent Robbie Brown lost to challenger Raleigh Meadors.
In the Third Constable District, former Constable Jim Thornton defeated incumbent Constable Dorman Patrick Jr.
Whitley County Clerk Kay Schwartz estimated that about 32 percent of Whitley County voters went to the polls Tuesday to cast their ballots.
A week ago, she predicted that between 30 and 35 percent of voters would go to the polls. “I actually was hoping for it to be a little higher but it started raining and that put a damper on things,” she noted.
In the First Magistrate District, incumbent Scotty Harrison garnered 1,236 votes to challenger Gary Brock’s 603 votes to win his second term in office.
In the Second Magistrate District, Cima received 1,048 votes to Head’s 435 votes and James D. Blankenship’s 241 votes.
In the Third Magistrate District, incumbent Michael Jarboe garnered 997 votes to Matt Rose’s 494 votes and Ted Barrineau’s 444 votes to win his second term in office.
In the Fourth Magistrate District, Meadors received 1,068 votes to Brown’s 899 votes and Rod Carter Jr.’s 177 votes.
Four years ago, Brown was the only incumbent magistrate, who was seeking re-election that won their race. He was seeking his third term in office.
In the Third Constable District, Thornton, who unsuccessfully ran for sheriff four years ago, garnered 1,208 votes to Patrick’s 722 votes.
In the Fourth Constable District, incumbent Andy Moses received 1,230 votes to Wayne Carr’s 780 votes.
Incumbent First District Constable Lonnie Foley and incumbent Second District Constable Ron “Bubba” Bowling were unopposed in seeking the Republican nomination for re-election.
None of the winning magistrate or constable candidates are facing opposition in the November General Election.
Election machine issues
Schwartz said that there were four E-Slate voting machines, which are electronic machines designed to assist disabled voters, that election workers couldn’t get to come on Tuesday morning.
The machines were programmed, set, and had zero totals on them when the machines were tested so they should have worked, she noted.
“We have a Harp Enterprises technician that goes to each precinct when they have a problem with equipment, and they got everything up and running,” she said.
Schwartz said there was one E-Slate machine that wouldn’t initially print out a total Tuesday evening when the polls closed, but it hadn’t been used all day.
The precinct workers brought machine to the courthouse, and the machine technician totaled everything out for them.
Signs too close?
Schwartz said that her office fielded several phone calls Tuesday morning from people, who were concerned that some election signs might be too close to polling locations.
“All of them checked out to beyond the 100 foot law,” she noted.
In 2016, state law changed allowing signs no closer than 100 feet from the polls. The previous law was that election signs had to be at least 300 feet away from polls.
While some of the signs were closer than 300 feet, they were more than 100 feet away from the polling place, Schwartz said.
In three instances where precinct officials weren’t sure about the distance of a sign to the precinct, Schwartz said she sent out the Democratic Election Chairman with the sheriff’s designee on the election commission to check out the signs and measure with a rolling tape measure, but all three signs were more than 100 feet away.
Sheriff Colan Harrell couldn’t serve on the Whitley County Board of Elections Tuesday because he was a candidate, whose name appears on the ballot.
Schwartz said she seemed to have more calls Tuesday regarding the 100-foot rule than she did when the 300-foot rule was in place, which didn’t actually surprise her.
“On Thursday, Friday and Monday, I had several calls wanting to know how close to the precinct that they could put their sign,” she said. “That is not typical. I have not had that many calls before an election, but this one I did.”
Voters at wrong precincts
Schwartz said the biggest problem on Election Day was voters moving to a different precinct after they registered to vote.
She said the only reason there were lines in some precincts is because people didn’t know where they were supposed to go to vote in some cases.
“Our lines were longer because if people don’t change their address before the election, then you have to do three sets of paperwork instead of letting them sign the roster book and vote. You have to do all this paperwork in order for them to be legal and eligible to vote in their precinct,” Schwartz added.