How the mail-in ballot process operates under Indiana law

NOW: How the mail-in ballot process operates under Indiana law

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- “We are not going to count fast. We are going to count accurately,” said Catherine Fanello, Chair of the St. Joseph County Election Board.

The St. Joseph County Elections Board is experiencing delays due to a record number of mail-in ballots. According to Fanello, official results may not be available until Friday.

“Indiana law is simply not designed to handle that type of mail-in volume,” said Fanello.   

Nationwide, there has been an increase in mail-in ballots for this year’s election. How does the process actually work? 

In Indiana, the last day to request an absentee ballot was October 22nd. Once the ballot was complete, it had to be received by noon on election day. In fact, according to Indiana state laws, mail-in’s cannot be counted until election day.

Following this process, if received in time, each ballot is then given to a team made up of one democrat and one republican. This team opens every envelope and performs the signature requirements needed under the Indiana law.   

Once every signature requirement and identification has been confirmed the ballot is then scanned. When ballots are not being handled or counted, they are placed in a vault in the county building where a guard is present at all times.

Because of this, Fanello explained tampering with mail-in ballots in Indiana would not be easy.

“It would be near impossible and there have been no reports in Indiana during my time being on the election board that there has ever been widespread absentee ballot tampering in Indiana,” said Fanello. “Because of the requirements we have in Indiana law and the checks and balances. I think the checks and balances work.”

Fanello also explains if voters are worried their mail-in was not accounted for to visit here where you can see the actual day your ballot was received and check the status.


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