Updated: Thursday, 25 Oct 2012, 7:01 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 25 Oct 2012, 5:01 PM EDT
VIGO CO. Ind. (WTHI) - Vigo County Republican leaders expressed concern Thursday about how more than a thousand of the county’s absentee ballots were handled, though they stopped short of contesting those ballots.
At issue is the fact that the county board which oversees absentee voting did not have any Republican members at the time those ballots were received, according to county party chair Randy Gentry, who said the lack of Republicans on the board violated state law.
County Clerk Pat Mansard said the reason there were no Republicans on the board is because the party did not appoint any. Gentry, however, said he was not notified until this week that Republicans needed to appoint members to the board. Gentry said he has already appointed one member to the board and has received paperwork from two other possible members.
In a statement issued Thursday, Gentry wrote that, despite the concerns, he did not have evidence of fraud involving the ballots and did not plan to challenge the ballots.
“We will never be 100 percent sure that the ballots have not been compromised, but we must not disenfranchise all the voters on pure speculation,” Gentry wrote. “I feel that voters using the mailed absentee ballot process should be aware of what has happened.”
Mansard said the absentee ballots brought to her office are protected from fraud by a series of safeguards and an extensive paper trail.
“Administration over the absentees … is extensive and very meticulous and has numerous steps,” Mansard said. “It’s put in a statewide voter system from the time that they request an absentee ballot application.”
Mansard also said that each absentee ballot her office receives is sealed and remains sealed until Election Day, meaning no workers in the clerk’s office know what is contained in a given ballot and whom the voter has selected.
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