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‘A little bit disappointing’: Recounts underway in Anderson mayoral primaries

ANDERSON, Ind. (WISH) — Candidates and election officials alike on Thursday said higher voter turnout could have prevented recounts in the mayor’s race.

Madison County Democrats spent roughly seven hours counting by hand every ballot that was cast in last month’s primary for mayor of Anderson. Rodney Chamberlain lost the primary against incumbent mayor Thomas Broderick by 36 votes. Under state law, he had the option to ask for a recount and did so. Chamberlain told News 8 he was disappointed by the low turnout: 17.52% of registered voters.

“You’re talking about 36 votes and it’s very, I would say, a little bit disappointing that more people didn’t get out to voice their opinion on their community,” he said.

Democrats weren’t the only ones with an unresolved election. The Republican mayoral primary featured three candidates who finished with 11 votes separating first from third place. A five-hour recount on Tuesday confirmed Jon Bell as the Republican nominee by three votes over Robert Jozwiak. Madison County Republican Party Chair Russ Willis said he was surprised his party’s turnout was so low, particularly given the presence of a first-time candidate, Carol Miller, in the race.

Willis, who also chairs the Madison County Board of Elections, said he expects better turnout in November when the differences among the candidates will be more pronounced.

“You have to show a reason for people to get out and be interested and vote,” he said. “You have to show a distinctive difference between the candidates.”

Chamberlain, Willis, and Broderick all blamed the low turnout for this week’s recounts. Broderick said his campaign had expected a close primary but anticipated a winning margin of closer to 300 votes.

“The turnout is critical. That’s why it’s so important that folks at home, no matter how you feel about issues or policies, that everybody should get out and exercise their right to vote,” he said.

Both Chamberlain and Broderick said they will accept the results of the recount regardless of who wins.

Willis said election officials got through about a third of the ballots on Thursday. He said the recount will resume June 22.