With some absentee ballots still not delivered, Indiana clerk blames post office for delays

USPS: More resources coming ahead of election
Posted at 6:53 PM, Oct 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-01 20:20:29-04

BROOKVILLE, Ind. — Some Indiana absentee ballots mailed two weeks ago are still missing near Brookville, and Franklin County's clerk says post office delays are to blame.

Brookville's postmaster handles all mail coming in and out of town, but for anyone living in areas near west Harrison, south near Dearborn and Ripley counties and points out west, there are roadblocks between some voters and their absentee ballots.

Franklin County Clerk Neysa Raible has fielded complaints of ballots missing in the mail for weeks. Even her mother, who lives in Dearborn County, is still waiting on her ballot to arrive in the mail.

"The first few days, we probably had ten calls a day saying, ‘my husband got his, I didn't get mine.’ And then, you know, it's out of our control because we send it to the post office and we're expecting them to get that service."

The problem lies 39 miles southeast across state lines in Cincinnati, where mail from areas around Brookville gets sorted and trucked back to Franklin County.

A post office spokesperson told WCPO they are sending Cincinnati more resources, expanding delivery and authorizing overtime to improve election mail service starting Thursday.

Raible's office had trouble four years ago, too, when her county's 13 polling locations had less than 300 absentee votes. For next month's presidential election, they already have more than 1,000 ballots, with just 200 that made it back for counting.

"I just worry that it's going to make them think that there's being tampering with the ballots and things like that,” Raible said.

So they're unpacking piles of personal protective equipment and preparing new election machines for crowds of early voters.

Raible urges eligible voters to cast a ballot early and in-person if they're concerned about the mail.

People requesting an absentee ballot must wait for its delivery, then bring it to county staff, sign paperwork to void their mail vote and cast one in person.

It is a safety measure to prevent fraud, but does nothing to keep Indiana votes from crossing state lines.

For more information on how to vote in Indiana, important dates and deadlines, plus answers to frequently asked voting questions, see WCPO's 2020 Elections Guide.