INDIANAPOLIS – Counties are receiving a record number of absentee ballots by mail but in Indiana, state law does not allow those votes to be counted until Election Day.
Hours after the final polls closed for early voting workers in Marion County sifted through mail-in absentee ballots. They checked signatures and matched ballots with applications but they can open a single envelope yet.
As of Monday, the county had received roughly 80,000 absentee ballots by mail. They will begin counting them the morning of Election Day.
These ballots are pouring into election offices in record numbers. In 2016, less than 20,000 Marion County residents voted absentee by mail. That election cycle it took roughly three to four days to count all of the absentee ballots, according to the Marion County Clerk’s Office.
“It will take the rest of the week to count all of them at a minimum,” said Russell Hollis, Deputy Director of the Marion County Clerk’s Office.
Marion County has hired 150 people to help count ballots. Hollis said they can not have more than that in order to follow social distancing guidelines. They will begin counting the morning of Election Day and will be working until at least 10 p.m.
Over in Hamilton County, the clerk’s office is tripling the number of people who typically count these ballots. 60 people will be working on Tuesday to help with this important job.
“I am hoping then we can get done early Wednesday evening, maybe somewhere along that. If not, we are prepared to come back Thursday morning and start at 8 again,” said Kathy Williams, Hamilton County Clerk.
Last week, Hamilton County had already received more than three-times as many absentee by mail ballots compared to 2016. Williams expects two-thirds of the county’s votes will be counted on Election Night.
“We will go until 5 p.m. and we will stop,” she said. “Clear this room out and we will get ready for the tallies from the machines to start coming in.”
For your absentee by mail ballot to be counted at this point, you must drop it off at your voting center by noon on Election Day.