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Porter County Clerk Urged To Resign Amidst Election Problems

CHICAGO (CBS)--Voters in Porter County, Indiana are calling for Clerk Karen Martin to resign after an Election Day disaster that has lasted days.

Numerous people who have worked on Porter County elections for the past few decades have said Tuesday's election was the worst they have ever seen.

The severity of the problems has prompted an FBI investigation.

Voters and poll workers are blaming Martin, who recently gained authority over elections in Porter County and also ran unsuccessfully for County Auditor during this past election.

Valparaiso voter Kathy Hensley was surprised to hear the clerk was able to run for auditor.

"There should be a mechanism for that not to happen," Hensley said.

Making matters worse, Martin has not appeared in public since the Election Day problems arose.

Karen Martin
Porter County Election Clerk Karen Martin

The Porter County Clerk's Office declined to comment on Friday, only saying Martin wasn't in the office.

J.J. Stankiewicz, Democratic Porter County Election Board member, said he doesn't know where Martin is.

"I don't know, and Karen Martin has to answer for herself," Stankiewicz said.

The only sighting of Martin this week was when she was spotted hiding behind a voter in the corner at an Election Board briefing at an administrative building.

Porter County Clerk
Porter County Clerk Karen Martin hides behind an unidentified man (far right) during a briefing for voters and reporters on Thursday.

That voter, Kenard Taylor, said he thought it was strange when he found out the woman cowering behind him was Martin.

"I knew somebody was behind me but I didn't know it was Karen," Taylor said.

The results for the Porter County elections were finally posted around 12 p.m. Friday--almost three days late.

Meanwhile, voters and candidates gave up their mornings on Friday to be present for a briefing where Election Board members David Bengs and Stankiewicz apologized to voters and poll workers for the mess caused by staffing issues at the polls and issues delivering absentee ballots to the precincts.

Stankiewicz said Martin's candidacy for auditor didn't sit right, and he suspected a conflict of interest.

"Even if it's not, it smells to high heaven," Stankiewicz said.

Apart from the FBI investigation, County Commissioners are also launching an investigation at the state level.

Some details from the election: 

  • A total of 65,130 Porter County Ballots were counted. Approximately 250 provisional ballots have yet to be counted during the certification process, the deadline for which is November 16. Turnout for the election was nearly 53 percent.
  • The Porter County Commissioners office is requesting that the Porter County Election Board request any and all investigations that are available through the Indiana Secretary of State Election Division and Indiana State Police.
  • The delay in results appears to be the longest in the county's history.
  • Here's a link to the results:
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