Indiana Democratic Party says ‘glitch’ led to some voters getting text message with wrong polling location

Example of the text message some Indiana voters received.

Example of the text message some Indiana voters received.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Some Indiana voters are receiving texts reminding them to vote, but not at the correct polling place.

In a text message submitted to the IndyStar, the text reads: “Election Day is Tuesday.  Make your plan NOW to vote!  Polls are open from 6am-6pm on Tuesday Nov. 8.  Your polling place is Guion Creek Elementary School, 4301 W 52ND ST, IN 46254.” But the viewer who submitted the text says the information is incorrect.

Marion County Clerk’s Office Deputy Director Russell Hollis told the IndyStar he has received at least three emails from voters saying they received a text with wrong polling information.

“We’ve forwarded those to the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, as well as the IMPD and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. I’m not sure what it is. I don’t even know who is sending them,” Hollis said.

4 Fast Facts:

  • Some voters received text messages Monday with an incorrect polling place.
  • Not all were wrong, some people’s texts had the correct location.
  • Officials are investigating the incident.
  • Indiana Democratic Party apologized for the texts, saying they were part of a “glitch.”

Hollis said there is no legitimate government office in Marion County that would be sending these text messages.

Not all of the texts are directing voters to the wrong polling location. In one instance, a CBS4 employee received this text with the correct information.

Around 1:30 p.m., The Indiana Democratic Party issued a statement to IndyStar saying a glitch contributed to some of the problems.

“The Indiana Democratic Party experienced a data-match error in our get-out-the-vote text message program to Democratic voters. We believe the error impacted less than 2,000 voters, informing them of an incorrect polling location. We are correcting the error now with a new message directing the voters impacted to (indianavoters.in.gov) so that they are able to confirm their polling location. As the IDP has always done, we will continue to encourage all Hoosiers to participate in the election process and cast their ballots in tomorrow’s election, and we apologize for any inconvenience.”

The best way to find out your correct polling place for tomorrow is to check it for yourself online at indianavoters.in.gov. For more voting information, check out our complete voter info guide here.

Much of the confusion over the text messages came as Hoosiers were setting a new statewide record for early voting.

According to the Indiana Secretary of State’s office, early and absentee voting totals through Sunday had reached 711,337.  That surpasses the totals of 590,445 in 2012 and 662,443.

2008 still holds the largest early voting total for Marion County.  The Marion County Clerk’s office says 68,128 voters cast their ballots in 2016.  In 2008, the total for Marion County as 93,359.

Deputy Director of the Marion County Clerk’s office, Russell Hollis pointed out that satellite voting centers were available in 2008, but were not in 2016.  He said that could be a contributing factor in the higher 2008 results.

Marion County election officials were still working to recruit more volunteers to count absentee ballots on election day.  Hollis said Monday the election office had recruited about 90 percent of the 600 volunteers they think they’ll need to have final results Tuesday night.

“The worst case scenario is that it will take us a little longer than election day to count those ballots,” Hollis said.

Marion County election officials say they’ll accept new volunteers until the night before the election. People who are interested are asked to call (317) 327-5100.

Election Day also comes under the shadow of an Indiana State Police investigation into alleged voter registration fraud in 56 Indiana counties.

State Police recently said they found indications of fraud in 10-percent of 45-thousand voter registration forms submitted by the group Patriot Majority U-S-A.  The investigation is expected to last until after the election.

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