“Coelho requested me to go in,” reported Jim Margolis, the former senior adviser to Barack Obama who back again then was a twentysomething Democratic operative. “I believed I was likely in for two times, and I emerged, like, eight months later on,” he told me. “I can just see us in these crowded tiny clerks’ offices, with the throngs of individuals, and the vote-counting trying to acquire area, and all the histrionics.”
“Hand-counting paper ballots and punch-card ballots is a grueling system,” Stephen Nix, now the senior director of Eurasia at the Intercontinental Republican Institute, then the Midwest field director for the NRCC, told me. “Complete monotony,” he recalled, “and then all of a sudden there is a questionable ballot and most people operates to the table and surrounds the desk, and there’s all this scrutiny, and there’s all this discussion.”
By the middle of April, as the auditors went from county to county, the day-to-day updates in the papers in Evansville read like a neck-and-neck horse race. “McCloskey jumps ahead a few votes,” a headline examine on April 11. “Lead seesaws,” a headline examine on April 12. “McIntyre stretches direct to 6,” a headline read on April 13. The NRCC ran total-page ads in the papers. “Frank McCloskey and the Democrats in Washington,” the adverts read, “are executing a lot more than just insulting the persons of Indiana — they are striving to steal an election.”
On April 18, however, at the intermittently testy last general public listening to at the Municipal Developing in Evansville, the task power experienced had a person last, fateful selection. At issue have been 94 unnotarized, unwitnessed absentee ballots from a handful of counties. By law, none of them should really have been counted — a stage upon which absolutely everyone agreed. The problems was some of them have been, due to the fact some county clerks experienced despatched 62 of them to precincts, that means they already experienced been between the mix of the counted. It was way too late to just take them out. The rub now was the remaining 32. They experienced been rightfully held back by other clerks. They had not been counted.
“These were being held independently,” Panetta stated at the hearing. “They ought not to be counted.”
Clay, the other Democrat, concurred. It was “unfortunate,” he claimed, that initially group was counted, but to now rely the 2nd “would be to compound the difficulty that previously exists.”
Thomas, the just one Republican, was furious. He charged “hypocrisy.” The abiding proposition of the activity power was to “treat like ballots in a like way,” he claimed. “I read about and about all over again that the cry is rely all the ballots,” he stated. They should really “at minimum be consistent,” he explained.
“The fact is this,” Panetta countered. “While we say we depend all the ballots, we do make some judgments and we do apply some discretion.”
Thomas, getting to be much more and much more discouraged, which is obvious even from just looking at the transcript, requested Shumway for some direction. But Shumway’s career was to be in cost of the counting of the ballots — that the undertaking drive resolved to depend. “I am happy the essential choice on this,” he advised the trio, “is yours and not mine.”
“Some were being sent to the precinct and some have been retained by the clerks. My dilemma is: So what?” Thomas reported. “Is the big difference in where they have been bodily positioned sufficient to address them fully in different ways?”
“These turned scrambled when they went to the precincts. It is too terrible. But they grew to become scrambled at the precinct degree,” Panetta pressured. He called this “the distinguishing attribute.”
The task pressure place it to a vote. The Democrats mentioned no to counting the 32. The Republican stated certainly.
“Really stunning,” Thomas stated sarcastically.
And with that, and at the close of this 5-hour, 14-moment hearing, Shumway declared the ultimate tally — McCloskey, 116,645 McIntyre, 116,641. A margin of four votes. The process power audit had created the result even nearer and a lot less selected.
Republicans’ recriminations ramped up even more.
“They have the arrogant power and they use it,” Thomas reported. “We will not be civilized. We will not suppose it is small business as common. We will not go back again to taking part in the lackey.” Thomas explained he felt like he’d been “raped.” Much too sturdy? “Talk to a rape victim,” he would explain to the Los Angeles Occasions. “Ask them following it is in excess of if they can just forget about about it. I really feel individually violated.” (Thomas declined to remark.)