Early voters in West Lafayette vote in wrong council race

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Nearly 100 voters will have until Nov. 13 to cast correct ballots after election officials discovered they voted in the wrong city council districts because of a software coding error, a county clerk said Monday.

Letters will be sent to the 94 affected voters in West Lafayette, Tippecanoe County Clerk Christa Coffey told the Lafayette Journal & Courier. County officials also will call and email them, she said.

Those voters will have until Nov. 13 — the day election results are certified — to cast a correct ballot in West Lafayette City Council district races. If voters cannot be contacted by then, their votes in the council district races will be disqualified, but choices made in other races, including those for three at-large council seats, still will count, Coffey said.

The problem was discovered Sunday when several voters at an early voting site asked why the council district races were incorrect on their ballots, Coffey said. The problem occurred in precincts split between two council districts. The council districts were redrawn last year after West Lafayette annexed Purdue University. A coding error in the software the county uses was reading the split precincts incorrectly, so voters were asked to vote for candidates in a neighboring district, she said.

After poll workers learned of the error, they were able to override the system to make sure voters were using a correct ballot. But voters who either didn’t know who should have been on their ballots or simply didn’t speak up cast ballots in the wrong districts, Coffey said.

One political party official said she would call in extra help for Tuesday’s general election.

“We’re definitely going to have some poll watchers, when we weren’t going to do it,” said Tippecanoe County Democratic Chairwoman Heather Maddox. “Nothing was intentional, I’m sure, but you have to be even more careful now. I’m not sure what’s going on.”

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