Local voters report issues with mail-in ballots

Nearly 10,000 people have requested to vote by mail, and local voters say they've had some problems in the process.

Posted: Sep 29, 2020 4:09 PM
Updated: Sep 29, 2020 6:30 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - Nearly 10,000 people have requested to vote by mail, and local voters say they've had some issues in the process.

Diane Gray, of West Lafayette, says that the ballot she requested wasn't initialed by the county election board.

"I want people to watch for that detail because I know we get complacent, we don't read instructions like we should, and if those initials aren't on there, it says the ballot can't be counted," Gray says. "I just want people to know to look at their ballot, read the instructions carefully, see that the ballot is gonna be counted."

Tippecanoe County Clerk Julie Roush says that an unprecedented amount of people are voting absentee. Mail-in ballots pass through many hands before they're counted, and that process comes with human error.

"It does go through several checks here, but sometimes the ballots do stick together," Roush says. "We think we got it, and it goes out in the mail. That happens."

Roush says that each and every ballot must be initialed twice, by a Democrat and Republican at the county election board, before they're mailed to voters.

"So you're talking about flipping through thousands of ballots, and we do that," she says. "But we gotta do it. There's a purpose for that, and that's security to make sure nobody's duplicated our ballots."

Wayne Buck, of Lafayette, says he has no intention to vote absentee, but he received another voter's ballot in the mail by mistake.

"When I got the mail, there was an official election ballot, and I'm voting on Election Day, well, actually, early voting," Buck says. "I think we could have a lot of mistakes this year because post office and election boards are overrun with this COVID-19 going on."

Gray and Buck say that their issues were quickly resolved. But they did have to make some phone calls and trips to the election board, which, Gray says, defeats the purpose of voting by mail.

But Roush says that many voters have hand-delivered their ballots because they're concerned the paperwork won't make it to the election board. She adds that early voting is safe for anyone with concerns about their ballot being counted.

"We've always said this: The more hands that touch a ballot, you have a larger opportunity of some error in some way, and that's why we do offer to vote in person," she says.

Roush says that voters should call the election board if they see any issues. Visit the election board website for more information. 

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