Whitaker to replace Carr on Cloverdale recount commission
One person on the three-member Cloverdale recount commission has been replaced.
On Tuesday, Putnam Circuit Court Judge Matthew Headley issued an order placing Vivian Whitaker on the commission, replacing Monnie Carr as the Democratic representative on the board.
Whitaker joins Republican Barb Jay and Putnam County Deputy Clerk Heather Robinson on the commission.
The three women are charged with conducting a recount of the Cloverdale clerk-treasurer race, which featured incumbent Republican Cheryl Galloway edging independent challenger Vanessa Carr by just two votes, 143-141.
Vanessa Carr filed a suit Nov. 19 in Putnam Circuit Court requesting a recount.
By law, it fell to Judge Headley to appoint a recount commission to be composed of a Republican and Democrat from the district in question and a person who can run the polling and tabulation equipment utilized in the recount process.
The party representatives were chosen based on recommendations from their respective party chairmen, while Robinson was recommended by Clerk Heather Gilbert.
The appointment of Monnie Carr to the commission raised some eyebrows, as he is petitioner Vanessa Carr’s husband. However, the appointment was deemed to be legal on these grounds and his removal from the commission was for other reasons.
It turns out that Monnie Carr has not previously voted in a primary election in Putnam County, either as a Democrat or a Republican. When his appointment to the commission was challenged, the court had no way of establishing his political party.
Instead, Whitaker, who is also the current president of the Cloverdale School Board, will be the third member of the commission.
No date has been set for the recount, though Robinson plans to reach out to Jay and Whitaker soon.
By state election law, the recount should be completed by Dec. 20. This may be extended by the court for “good cause shown.” It is unclear if this hiccup in the appointment process qualifies as “good cause” under this rather oblique wording.
However, more than two weeks still remain to schedule the recount, which itself should be a rather short process.
Once a recount is completed, Gilbert must file a certificate of recount, with any corrected vote totals noted.
After the recount certificate is filed, the court enters its final order discharging the recount commission. A 30-day period to appeal the recount commission’s certificate begins when the trial court issues this order.
The next term for the Cloverdale clerk-treasurer begins on Wednesday, Jan. 1.
County officials are unsure of how many recounts have taken place in county history. However, Voter Registration Clerk Stacia Hathaway files of two previous recounts, both involving Cloverdale municipal elections.
One was the 2003 town council race, in which four candidates for town council seats filed suit, alleging that eligible voters were not permitted to cast their ballots, while some ineligible voters were allowed.
None of the four losing candidates in 2003 — Phyllis Gaddis, David Brinkman, Cathleen Monaco and Francis Sweeney — had the result overturned.
The other is from 1983, a race in which David Hayes narrowly defeated Diana Brumfield for the Second Ward council position. Lewis Bales finished third in that race.