Local News

People Upset Over Election Results Wait

(La Porte County, IN) - The decision not to release vote totals until all of the votes were counted Tuesday night is taking a public beating. Complaints were voiced during Wednesday’s La Porte County Commissioners meeting.


La Porte County Clerk Heather Stevens said candidates and their campaign workers deserve to know how the vote-counting is going early after working hard for months on the campaign trail. Stevens, a Republican, said it’s unfair to add stress to their lives by being kept in suspense about how they’re doing until all of the ballots have been counted.


Former La Porte County Democratic Party Chairman Jim Kimmel said releasing early results is a long tradition. People enjoy and build their election night gatherings around the excitement of following the count. He said early results also help local media members provide good election night coverage.


“It’s a good night for them to get the information out to the public,” Kimmel said.

Kimmel also thought it was very upsetting that nobody was told in advance about the decision, which left people waiting for the first results frustrated and speculating over what they suspected was a delay in the counting.


“Why wasn’t the media told about this in advance. They were sitting around with befuddled looks on their faces. They had no answers on what was going on,” Kimmel said.

Eventually, reporters went looking for the answers.


Election Board members explained they were not releasing the results until all of the voters were counted to avoid the chance of making the same mistakes that occurred in 2020.


Election Board Vice-President Nelson Pichardo said some of the votes were not counted accurately, but the mistakes weren’t discovered until the early results were made public. Pichardo said the corrections did not change the outcome of any race, but many people were still upset.


La Porte County government attorney Shaw Friedman said there was good reason for the decision by the election board. However, Friedman said he hopes a “middle ground” to the liking of the election board and people who enjoy knowing the early results are reached before November.


“I understand everyone’s frustration but I think they made the decision in good faith,” Friedman said.

Friedman was also critical of the election board for not giving advance notice.


“If there was a mistake made it was, perhaps, not alerting folks well in advance of election night that was the plan,” Freidman said.

Friedman said he also suggested to the election board members to give plenty of advance notice on how the counting in the November general election will be conducted.


The LaPorte County Election Board comprises President Chuck Watterson, Vice-President Nelson Pichardo, and County Clerk Heather Stevens.

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