Why Hoosiers may wait longer for election results


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INDIANAPOLIS — With a record amount of mail-in absentee ballots, you can expect later results this election.

Some states allow workers to start opening ballots before Election Day but Indiana’s laws make the task more time-consuming.

Indiana allows counties to begin verifying absentee envelope signatures as soon as it’s mailed in but they can’t open the envelopes until six a.m. on Election Day.

“And the reason for that is dead voters,” said Barbara Tully, President of Indiana Vote by Mail.

If a Hoosier voter dies between the time they mailed in their ballot and Election Day, their vote is supposed to be thrown out. However, that’s not the case in ten other states.

“They don’t total the election until polls close on election night, but they go through the entire process,” explained Tully. “Indiana does none of that so, we can’t open the envelopes.”

Therefore, you can expect delayed results in the Hoosier state. Hamilton County Clerk Kathy Williams estimates workers there won’t be finished counting absentee ballots for days.

“30 teams of republicans and democrats to do the counting and we will go through until about 5 o’clock on Tuesday counting absentees,” said Williams.

She said they’ll continue the next day until 5 p.m. and then the day after that if necessary.

“It’s just time-consuming,” said Tully. “And we don’t have a lot of the automation in Indiana that some vote by mail states have.”

Tully said historically Indiana has been resistant to change any election laws.

But county clerks like Williams say it could benefit the state.

“I do think it’s something worth discussing,” said Williams.

But until then, Williams and Tully said voters shouldn’t worry about delayed results.

“If it takes us a little bit longer it just means that they are doing the job that they are supposed to be doing to get all the ballots counted,” said Tully.

To look up absentee ballot laws in other states, click here.

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