Kosciusko County Election Board members (L to R) Bill Morton, Democrat; Randy Girod, Republican; and Kosciusko County Clerk Ann Torpy discuss the provisional ballots for the 2022 primary election on Friday in Torpy’s office in the Justice Building. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
Kosciusko County Election Board members (L to R) Bill Morton, Democrat; Randy Girod, Republican; and Kosciusko County Clerk Ann Torpy discuss the provisional ballots for the 2022 primary election on Friday in Torpy’s office in the Justice Building. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
State statute required provisional ballots for the 2022 primary election to be verified and counted by noon Friday.

The Kosciusko County Election Board received 22, but only nine were added to the final election numbers as one person didn’t file their properly signed affidavit in time to have their ballot counted and 12 were from people not registered to vote in Kosciusko County.

“So we’re here today to go over our provisional ballots and finalize our election results,” Kosciusko County Clerk Ann Torpy said at the start of the Election Board meeting Friday.

One provisional voter believed he had registered at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles on the day he received his driver’s license in January, Torpy said as the Election Board reviewed the ballots, but the Clerk’s Office was unable to verify that and the man didn’t show any proof he had registered by the noon Friday (May 13) deadline. The election was May 3.

“He (said he) registered in January of ’22 and thought he was registered. He went to the BMV, got his driver’s license and thought he was registered that way. I know a lot of people assume that, but it doesn’t always necessarily go through either. And if they say something to them, you would hope that it would go through, but not necessarily. It is something that frustrates all of us,” Torpy said.

Bill Morton, Democrat on the Election Board, said he didn’t think the Board could register the man and if they can’t establish that he had registered at the BMV, then he didn’t see how they could count his vote.

Torpy pointed out that all the provisional voters who were determined to not be registered voters would be sent voter registration applications to try to get them registered in time for the November election.

In the past, a provisional ballot might have been cast if a person couldn’t get back to their voting precinct to cast their vote so they would vote at the nearest voting location. This year, with all voters in Kosciusko County able to vote at any vote center in the county, that was not an issue.

“That was nice,” said Randy Girod, Republican, Election Board member.

The Election Board double-checked the provisional ballot affidavits and applications.

There also were seven absentee ballots that were not counted because they arrived to the Clerk’s Office too late and one that didn’t even reach the voter because of a bad address.

“They had until 6 p.m. Election Day to get it to the County Election Board. These came in our mail the next few days after Election Day,” Torpy said.

She said the number of provisional ballots for this election was on par with the number from past elections.

For this election, Torpy also pointed out that they didn’t have any provisional ballots because a person didn’t have their ID on them.

“We have had that before, but not in this election,” Girod said. He guessed that people have gotten accustomed to showing their ID to vote.

With so few provisional ballots, Torpy said they wouldn’t have any affect on any of the results. There really wasn’t one part of the county that had a larger share of the provisional ballots, she said, but the North Webster Community Center tends to get a lot. Girod said that’s a very large precinct and anyone from any part of the county could have voted there.

“It’s really just pretty much everywhere,” Girod said.

There were 21 vote centers on Election Day and two satellite early vote centers.

After the provisional ballots were added in, the final numbers for the May 2022 primary are: 9,927 Election Day voters; 1,257 walk-in absentee voters; 340 early paper absentees; for a total count of 11,524 voters, or 21.47%. There are 53,682 registered voters in Kosciusko County.

Torpy provided the 2018 numbers as a comparison. Four years ago, there were 12,015 Election Day voters; 1,023 walk-in absentee voters; 207 early paper absentees; for a total count of 13,247 voters, or 26%. There were 50,622 registered voters in 2018.

“We did have 3,000 more voters this time than we did then, but the turnout was still extremely low this time of year,” Torpy said.

There were more early walk-in voters this year than in 2018, but the voter turnout was still low, she said.