Two recounts requested in municipal elections in E.C., Merrillville

Two candidates so far are seeking recounts for their respective races in the wake of the May primary election.

Incumbent Merrillville Town Councilman Richard Hardaway, who was seeking a fifth term in the 2nd Ward, wants a recount in his nine-vote loss to challenger Shauna Haynes-Edwards for the Democratic nomination for the seat.

In East Chicago, candidate Benita White Arnold also seeks to recount her 89-vote loss to current Clerk Richard Medina in the Democratic primary. Medina was running in his first city-wide election for clerk after being seated to the position by caucus to replace Adrian Santos when he left to become North Township Trustee.

Election board members Thursday accepted and rejected provisional ballots to prepare for the certification of the May 2 Primary Election. The election must be certified by noon Monday, Michelle Fajman, election board director, said.

Board members certified the election contingent on the noon Friday deadline for the four voters who are required to present their identification in order to cure their provisional ballots. If any of those voters arrive before the deadline, their vote will be added to the final official total.

In another close race, a challenge has not yet been filed in the race for the Republican nomination for Highland’s 4th ward seat where a narrow margin of 10 votes separates Thomas Black over Mathew Thomas.

It is unclear the impact any of the provisional ballots may have on the races. Candidates have until Tuesday to file for a recount.

White Arnold was at the meeting to observe the proceedings.

“Basically, I’m here today not just for myself but for all the people who came out in East Chicago who wanted to prove a point… that as a community we want to keep our city moving forward,” White Arnold said.

White Arnold led early on in the race in both early and absentee vote totals and was leading throughout the early election day tallies. It had appeared she had won the race, but when final tallies came in, she had fallen 89 votes behind.

She said she wants the recount, which she will have to pay for, to find out the truth and ensure the ballots were properly counted.

“Something happened. I need to make it make sense,” White Arnold said.

There were 110 provisional ballots. The board of elections rejected 74 of those ballots and accepted 36. The final vote count including provisional ballots will be available Friday.