Judge orders recount in Lake County commissioner’s race
By Rich Bird Post-Tribune correspondent June 20, 2012 3:22PM
Mike Repay. | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 20, 2012 10:38PM
CROWN POINT — A Newton Circuit Court judge has ordered a recount in the challenge to Councilman Mike Repay’s primary win for the 3rd District Lake County Commissioner seat in the May 8 primary election.
According to Judge Jeryl F. Leach’s order, the recount will begin at 8:30 a.m. Monday in the voting machine storage facility at the Lake County Government Center.
Richard Novak, 60, of East Chicago, is challenging his 74- vote loss to Repay, 36, of Hammond.
The recount will be officiated by a three-man recount commission. Attorney James Wieser, representing the Lake
County Election Board named voting machine technician James Oliver, who assisted in the programming of the machines. Attorney Justin Murphy, representing Novak, named Democrat Dennis Adams, of Highland.
The only hiccup in the hearing came when attorney J.J. Stankiewicz attempted to name Democrat Philip Golden, of Hammond to the commission. Murphy objected citing the statutory regulation that one of the members be a Republican
After a short conference, Stankiewicz submitted the name of Republican Michael Mellon, of Munster, who is president of the American Savings Bank.
Leach ordered that the commission members will be paid $100 per day and will be entitles to two 15-minute breaks, as well as an hour for lunch.
The attorneys in the case say the recount itself could take in excess of 24 hours. More than 370 machines were used in 163 precincts, as well as early voting machines, to gather votes in the race.
Murphy estimated that it will take a minimum of four minutes per machine for the recount, assuming they are stacked and their cables of impoundment removed prior to the count.
The parties agreed to let the staff of the election office begin staging the machines under the watch of Election Supervisor Sally LaSota, and the existing video surveillance equipment in the garage where the machines are kept.
Leach ordered that the recount be completed by June 29. He also reaffirmed the order of impoundment of all materials related to the election through July 9, when a hearing date has been set for a possible contest on the challenge.
The order was originally signed by Lake Circuit Judge George Paras, who recused himself from the case citing conflicts of interest with both Novak and Repay. Leach was subsequently appointed to the case by the Indiana Supreme Court.
The winner will face Republican nominee Mark Leyva, 52, of Highland, in November.