Recount in state senate nomination race finished

Election 2016 vote ballot stock image

Two months after voters cast their ballots, a state commission has named the winner of the Democratic nomination to a state senate seat.

The Indiana Recount Commission confirmed the Election Day results, showing Sean Gorman won the Democratic nomination for the District 36 senate seat with a little more than 50 percent of the vote.

In May, Gorman’s opponent, Jesse Kharbanda, filed for a recount of the votes cast in the primary race. The results showed Gorman defeated Kharbanda by 37 votes. Last month, the state commission upheld those results.

Gorman will now face Republican Jack Sandlin this fall in the race for State Senate District 36, which represents portions of Johnson and Marion counties.

“I’m glad we can now move on and direct our full attention to the November general election,” Gorman said. “It’s a relief that the uncertainty of the election results is over.”

About a week after the primary election concluded, Kharbanda filed for a recount because the margin was so slim.

On election day, local election workers could not get results off of one voting machine in White River Township, so the race could not be declared that night. At that time, Gorman was ahead by 38 votes. When the votes from that machine were counted the next day, Kharbanda led by 54 votes. But when Marion County’s absentee ballots were added to the tally, the final results showed Gorman had won the Democratic nomination.

Over the course of four days last month, a hand recount by the commission, state police and the State Board of Accounts confirmed the original results. Gorman won with 4,769 votes, while Kharbanda earned 4,732 votes, said Matthew Kochevar, the Democratic council on the recount commission.

The recount revealed some votes that weren’t counted into the first tally on Election Day, Kharbanda said. However, the votes found during the recount ultimately canceled one another out, not leading to a gain or a loss for either candidate.

“The recount process led to a more accurate representations of the votes, but it just so happened that the votes found and lost canceled each other out,” Kharbanda said. “You have situations where recounts lead to adjustments and sometimes those are enough to change the outcome, and sometimes they’re not.”

Corey Elliot is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2719.