Indiana’s coronavirus-delayed primary may mean lines, slow tallies

The coronavirus outbreak prompted state officials to push back the primary by four weeks and encourage mail-in voting.

Posted: Jun 1, 2020 5:08 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s delayed and revamped primary election is about to conclude with the final votes being cast.

The coronavirus outbreak prompted state officials to push back the primary by four weeks and encourage mail-in voting.

However, health concerns have morphed into worries about possibly thousands of uncounted ballots and lines Tuesday at in-person polling places as some counties slashed their number of voting sites.

Voting results might not be finalized Tuesday night in some counties as election workers across the state face counting more than 10 times the number of mail-in ballots than they received in the 2016 primary.

VOTING TUESDAY

Those showing up at polling sites Tuesday will encounter election workers wearing masks and possibly other protective equipment against coronavirus exposure.

State officials used federal funding to buy supplies, including face masks, face shields, hand sanitizer and disinfectant cleaner for voting machines that will be used at voting sites.

But state election directors told county clerks that voters cannot be forced to wear masks or gloves or maintain distancing from others.

All voting sites in Indianapolis have designated safety officers who will encourage coronavirus safety measures, said Russell Hollis, deputy director of the Marion County Clerk’s Office.

“We cannot force the voters to wear masks, but the election workers will all definitely wear masks,” Hollis said.

POSSIBLE LINES

Concerns about recruiting enough poll workers prompted many counties to drastically cut their number of in-person voting sites for Tuesday.

The 22 polling places in Indianapolis will be down from its normal 270.

Allen County, which includes Fort Wayne, has cut its sites from 116 to 25, while St. Joseph County will have 12 sites open Tuesday in and around South Bend rather than the 120 planned before the COVID-19 outbreak.

A lack of polling sites was blamed for long lines and health worries for voters in Wisconsin’s April primary.

Similar situations are possible in Indiana with so many fewer voting locations, said Julia Vaughn, policy director for the government accountability group Common Cause Indiana.

“You don’t have to be a math wizard to figure out that means longer lines, more congestion, more crowding,” Vaughn said.

Not all counties made the same decisions.

Northwestern Indiana’s Lake County will have about 200 polling sites open, while Hamilton County in suburban Indianapolis is set to operate its typical 125 locations.

“We wanted to keep everything as normal as possible in this time when things are not normal,” said Michelle Fajman, director of the Lake County election board.

LATE BALLOTS

The Marion County clerk and some candidates say they are worried thousands of mail-in ballots could go uncounted by arriving to election offices after the noon Tuesday deadline as county workers and voters have dealt with the explosion in such balloting.

Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson rejected any move to extend that deadline for the nearly 550,000 mail-in ballots requested for the primary.

Vaughn said voters faced navigating a variety of deadlines for main-in balloting that a great number had never faced before.

“We expect the majority of votes to be cast by mail but we’re not a vote-by-mail state, so we’ve had to make this up as we go along,” Vaughn said.

DELAYED RESULTS?

Indiana has no challenged races for statewide elected offices in this year’s primary or a repeat of 2016’s undecided Republican and Democratic presidential nominations.

The biggest races are for the congressional seats being given up by Democratic Rep. Pete Visclosky and Republican Rep. Susan Brooks. State legislative seats and many county offices are also on the primary ballot.

County election workers can start opening and counting mail-in ballots once polling sites open at 6 a.m. Tuesday, but several officials have said it could take more than a day to tally them all.

“Realistically, that could cause a delay in deciding some contests, particularly those with smaller districts such as school referenda questions or certain local legislative races,” Hollis said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 111505

Reported Deaths: 3506
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion20699758
Lake10217318
Elkhart6368109
St. Joseph604597
Allen5965200
Hamilton4676109
Vanderburgh334129
Hendricks2650122
Monroe240836
Johnson2257122
Tippecanoe221013
Clark211756
Porter205244
Cass19319
Delaware187061
Vigo176622
Madison157775
LaPorte136737
Floyd130361
Howard127563
Kosciusko119017
Bartholomew114957
Warrick114135
Marshall98524
Dubois94918
Boone94446
Hancock90542
Grant88233
Noble88132
Henry76324
Wayne73914
Jackson7349
Morgan69638
Shelby66529
Daviess64127
LaGrange63011
Dearborn62628
Clinton59112
Harrison56024
Putnam5329
Montgomery50521
Lawrence50328
Knox4869
White47914
Gibson4744
Decatur45339
DeKalb45011
Miami4243
Fayette41813
Greene41835
Jasper3822
Steuben3677
Scott35310
Sullivan32912
Jennings30912
Posey3020
Franklin29725
Clay2925
Orange28224
Ripley2788
Carroll27013
Wabash2638
Washington2581
Whitley2526
Starke2517
Wells2472
Adams2443
Jefferson2433
Fulton2352
Huntington2213
Spencer2194
Tipton21722
Perry20913
Randolph2067
Jay1700
Newton17011
Owen1641
Martin1620
Rush1514
Pike1411
Vermillion1260
Fountain1152
Pulaski1141
Blackford1132
Crawford1030
Brown1013
Parke932
Benton880
Union770
Ohio767
Switzerland680
Warren401
Unassigned0225

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 144309

Reported Deaths: 4615
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin25977603
Cuyahoga17092642
Hamilton12756308
Montgomery7501152
Lucas7119357
Butler563299
Summit5096249
Marion306347
Mahoning2991279
Warren291048
Stark2739168
Pickaway263344
Lorain226386
Delaware213520
Fairfield202050
Columbiana191980
Licking185762
Trumbull1848131
Clark172338
Wood170671
Clermont162620
Lake157649
Medina143038
Allen136767
Greene135228
Miami135049
Portage107466
Mercer105317
Tuscarawas91220
Wayne90166
Erie89944
Ross85622
Richland78419
Madison78012
Darke76039
Belmont70727
Geauga70347
Hancock6579
Ashtabula64348
Athens5972
Lawrence59418
Shelby5819
Auglaize5659
Sandusky55420
Putnam54123
Huron5237
Union4932
Ottawa46530
Scioto4646
Seneca43914
Preble42013
Holmes3717
Muskingum3712
Jefferson3184
Henry29712
Champaign2933
Logan2933
Perry2859
Defiance28110
Clinton27813
Knox27815
Brown2752
Hardin25013
Morrow2492
Washington24823
Fulton2341
Jackson2314
Coshocton23011
Fayette2256
Ashland2234
Highland2203
Crawford2186
Wyandot20112
Williams1983
Gallia18012
Meigs1729
Hocking1619
Pike1580
Guernsey1567
Carroll1507
Adams1214
Van Wert1113
Monroe10618
Paulding1010
Harrison611
Morgan470
Vinton453
Noble270
Unassigned00
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