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Indiana’s 1.5M-plus early votes expected to delay results

With more than 1.5 million votes cast heading into November, Indiana is on its way to doubling the number of early votes cast during the 2016 presidential election and has already tallied more than half of the 2.8 million total votes cast that year.

Posted: Nov 2, 2020 11:22 AM
Updated: Nov 2, 2020 1:37 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The flood of Indiana voters choosing mail-in ballots or heading to early voting sites has kept up as the final votes are being cast in this year’s election.

With more than 1.5 million votes cast heading into November, Indiana is on its way to doubling the number of early votes cast during the 2016 presidential election and has already tallied more than half of the 2.8 million total votes cast that year.

That follows the national trend of voters looking to avoid possibly crowded Election Day polling places on Tuesday amid the coronavirus pandemic or wanting to make sure there’s no doubt about getting their ballot in.

“I’m not alone in this, but I’m very aware of how historic this election is ... with Donald Trump, the coronavirus, a notably divided country — it’s all so critical,” said Brenda Kirkham, 54, who waited more than three hours to cast her vote on the northside of Indianapolis Friday afternoon. “I’ll be darned if I don’t weigh in and get my ballot in, and I might as well do it early.”

The Indiana secretary of state’s office, which oversees state election policy, said 1,515,641 voters have cast ballots by mail or in-person at an early voting location as of Friday morning.

More than 560,000 mail-in ballots were requested by the Oct. 22 deadline, although not all have been returned to county election offices yet.

In the 2020 primary election, 640,225 Hoosiers voted absentee in-person or by mail.

In 2016, during the entire period of absentee voting for both in person and by mail, 977,239 ballots were submitted.

Besides the Donald Trump-Joe Biden presidential race, Indiana voters are deciding whether Republicans will continue their political dominance of the state or reward Democrats with some victories as they try clawing back to greater relevance.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb has been able to keep up a front-runner campaign for a second four-year term with large advantages of name identification, fundraising and organization over his two challengers, Democrat Woody Myers and Libertarian Donald Rainwater.

Democrats have concentrated much of their fall campaign on capturing the state attorney general’s office and a central Indiana congressional seat that’s competitive after decades as a Republican bastion.

“I would like to see the state’s attorney general stay Republican, but I did something I didn’t think I would do and split my ticket for the 5th District seat,” said 61-year-old Barry Richardson of Carmel, Indiana, who voted early just north of Indianapolis on Friday. “I’d like to see more done at the federal level on health care, especially with this pandemic still being so serious. I don’t think a lot will get done if we keep a Republican in as our representative.”

Early voting continues through the weekend across Indiana and ends Monday at noon local time.

Mail-in ballots must arrive in county election offices by noon Tuesday in order to be counted after a federal appeals court rejected a lawsuit from a voting-rights group to extend that deadline.

The last chance to vote will be at in-person voting sites that are open 6 a.m.-6 p.m. local time Tuesday.

The sheer volume of early votes — 43% more than four years ago — has election officials warning it could take more than one day to tally them all, possibly delaying determination of some winners.

“The increased number of absentee ballots could cause a delay in reporting results on Election Night,” said secretary of state Connie Lawson said Friday. “Please be patient and know that election administrators across the state are working tirelessly to calculate results.”

Holcomb said during a news conference Wednesday that all qualifying ballots are guaranteed to be counted, but noted that timelines for getting final tallies will likely vary across Indiana’s 92 counties.

“The sooner the better, but you can’t sacrifice the quality of the job. And you need to be thorough, and it needs to be accurate,” Holcomb said. “That gives Hoosiers the confidence that their voice was not just expressed, but that it was taken into account.”

In Marion County, “a large volume of absentee votes” will take days to get counted once that process begins on Tuesday, said Russell Hollis, deputy director of the Marion County Clerk’s Office. As a result, key races are not expected be decided on Election Night.

“It will definitely take more than one day to count all of the absentees,” Hollis said. “It may take through the end of the week to count all the absentee ballots, depending on the number of ballots we receive.”

More than 155,000 people had cast early ballots in Marion County as of Friday morning, according to the secretary of state’s office.

That’s more than twice the total number of early votes in 2016, when only 72,707 people voted absentee by-mail or in-person.

The Marion County Election Board voted Friday to open Lucas Oil Stadium this weekend for early voting.

The decision was prompted by hours-long lines at the six early voting sites around Indianapolis in the days before the election.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1462456

Reported Deaths: 20308
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion2005922494
Lake992001456
Allen903391005
Hamilton70705539
St. Joseph63078746
Elkhart48098622
Vanderburgh46217523
Tippecanoe42115330
Johnson37119516
Hendricks35078455
Porter33900460
Madison28036530
Clark25186321
Vigo24768341
LaPorte22894307
Monroe22201243
Howard21344372
Delaware20937363
Hancock18289217
Kosciusko17513199
Bartholomew17399212
Warrick16060212
Wayne15757296
Floyd15399252
Grant14898293
Morgan13934230
Boone13172136
Noble11421140
Dearborn11355112
Henry11312201
Shelby11231150
Marshall11041166
Dubois10782152
Jackson10174104
DeKalb9944128
Cass9942142
Lawrence9914219
Huntington9823139
Gibson9131125
Montgomery9005140
Knox8762124
Harrison8718111
Whitley844771
Steuben8340102
Jasper8069113
Putnam795197
Clinton792994
Miami7914133
Wabash7598138
Jefferson7551124
Ripley6993111
Adams6508101
Scott629086
Daviess6266127
White602379
Greene5913111
Clay587173
Wells5814120
Decatur5754118
Jennings572276
Fayette5657121
Posey529146
LaGrange512996
Randolph4925128
Washington482067
Owen480398
Fountain463579
Spencer438156
Starke434086
Sullivan432164
Fulton426790
Orange412682
Jay403964
Rush395736
Carroll371349
Franklin369850
Perry362155
Vermillion345062
Pike308945
Tipton307974
Parke305038
Pulaski266973
Blackford266755
Newton228359
Brown222654
Benton213321
Crawford211231
Switzerland189414
Martin181921
Warren169520
Union163619
Ohio119516
Unassigned0742

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2403645

Reported Deaths: 30922
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin2596932036
Cuyahoga2572672998
Hamilton1666711699
Montgomery1103831586
Summit1066861382
Lucas895171149
Butler78647924
Stark747301383
Lorain62885783
Warren49934468
Mahoning49735909
Lake46850586
Clermont43541428
Delaware38876210
Trumbull38576748
Medina37611416
Licking36901401
Fairfield33848331
Greene32124416
Portage31381356
Clark30277440
Richland28251420
Wood27660289
Allen24372392
Miami22806389
Muskingum22298244
Columbiana22095399
Wayne21275354
Tuscarawas18847423
Erie18041221
Ashtabula17932338
Marion17503231
Scioto16553203
Ross16163249
Pickaway15536173
Hancock15251227
Geauga15244221
Lawrence13847186
Huron13399182
Union1329683
Belmont13255247
Jefferson12864257
Sandusky12770197
Athens11949106
Knox11511195
Seneca11454200
Ashland10795174
Darke10673196
Washington10564168
Auglaize10152141
Crawford9854175
Shelby9699155
Brown9400140
Fulton9235148
Guernsey9109115
Defiance9057134
Highland9035143
Logan8955141
Clinton8719121
Mercer8640111
Madison8568104
Preble8002160
Williams7848135
Putnam7731135
Ottawa7629120
Champaign7556112
Jackson7383114
Perry714598
Coshocton7043136
Morrow694580
Fayette662287
Hardin6219125
Pike617086
Gallia594989
Adams5779124
Van Wert5779120
Henry565592
Hocking5521103
Carroll4828100
Wyandot482289
Holmes4747161
Paulding401163
Meigs375071
Monroe299368
Noble279851
Harrison279461
Morgan276848
Vinton239845
Unassigned08
Fort Wayne
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Angola
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Huntington
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Feels Like: 28°
Decatur
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Van Wert
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A gusty south wind pushes temperatures above the freezing mark Tuesday afternoon.
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