Indiana counties prepare for wave of absentee voters

Midwest

An employee of the Mecklenburg County Board of Election holds up instructions that are mailed with the application for an absentee ballot at their office in Charlotte, North Carolina on September 4, 2020. – The US election is officially open: North Carolina on September 4, 2020 launched vote-by-mail operations for the November 3 contest between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden, which is getting uglier by the day.
Worries about the unabated spread of the coronavirus are expected to prompt a major increase in the number of ballots cast by mail, as Americans avoid polling stations. (Photo by Logan Cyrus / AFP) (Photo by LOGAN CYRUS/AFP via Getty Images)

INDIANA (NewsNation Now) —  With 50 days away from the general election, some counties in Indiana are seeing double the number of requests from people who want to vote absentee by mail.

According to officials in Marion County, the number is already doubled the 2016 total. In order to vote by mail in Indiana, voters have to qualify. There’s a list of reasons you may eligible on the application. If those don’t apply, you can vote in-person either early or on election day.

Meanwhile, texts message are throwing some voters off. The text says an application to vote by mail in Indiana is on the way. The problem is they didn’t request one.

“One thing that we try to reiterate to voters is that you only need to complete the application just one time,” said Russell Hollis, Deputy Director of the Marion County Clerk’s Office.

Voters must request an application from their county clerk.

“The absentee application itself is very clear that you have to meet one of the numerated criteria in order to vote by absentee,” says Kyle Hupfer, Chair of the Indiana Republican Party.

If a voter’s application qualifies, they’ll mail a ballot. Then voters can either mail it back or return it in person. Indiana is already expecting a record-breaking number of absentee ballots.

In Marion County alone, the deputy clerk estimates they’ll send out more than 100,000.

“We’ve already doubled what we received four years ago,” says Hollis.

Counties are hiring extra workers to help. They also expect a delay in results due to high volume of absentee ballots.

Democratic Chair John Zody says that won’t mean something went wrong in the election process.

“Quite the contrary. It’s because clerks and election ministers want to make sure that the votes are counted correctly that they did everything right,” said John Zody, Chair of the Indiana Democratic Party.

The deadline to request absentee ballot is October 22. The deadline to return absentee ballot is before noon on election day.

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