Challenger Requests Recount in Close Indiana House Election
Thomas W. Ward, seeking to oust Rep. John Hiler in Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District, formally requested a state recount Tuesday to settle the nation’s closest House race.
Ward, a Democrat, said Hiler’s 66-vote margin cast a cloud of doubt over the election. He asked that all 450 precincts be recounted.
The three-member Recount Commission scheduled a meeting Thursday with representatives of both sides to begin planning the recount, said Secretary of State Edwin J. Simcox, the chairman. The other seats are occupied by state Democratic and GOP chairmen.
Faulty Count Cited
Ward had claimed victory on Nov. 4 on the basis of a counting error made by a computer firm hired by several South Bend news organizations.
Ward said he believes unintended error rather than fraud would account for any shift uncovered by recount auditors.
The certified count showed Hiler with 75,952 votes and Ward with 75,886 votes. Simcox has said he expects the count will be completed by late December.
In another House contest, the state Canvassing Board in Minnesota on Tuesday declared Rep. Arlan Stangeland the winner by 121 votes over Democrat-Farmer-Labor challenger Collin C. Peterson in the 7th District.
Waiting Period Required
Secretary of State Joan Growe, who heads the board, said state law requires a 12-day waiting period before her office can issue a certificate of election. If a recount suit is filed, the certificate will not be issued until the courts resolve the issue, she said.
Meanwhile, Sen. Jeremiah Denton, who in 1980 became Alabama’s first Republican senator in 112 years, conceded defeat Tuesday to Democrat Richard Shelby after considering a possible challenge of the razor-thin loss.
Denton’s concession came only hours after the Alabama secretary of state’s office announced that Shelby had been certified as the winner over Denton by 6,823 votes out of more than 1.2 million cast.