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Early voters in Hamilton County catch mistake on absentee ballots

Some voters are already questioning the validity of the upcoming election results.

INDIANAPOLIS — Some voters are already questioning the validity of the upcoming election results.

 A Hamilton County couple caught a mistake on an absentee ballot that could have kept it from being counted. 

County election workers are laboring over time as they process an expected 55,000 absentee ballots.

Mindy Decker and her husband were ready to fill out theirs when they noticed an omission on his ballot. It was missing a signature in the R box, according to Mindy. 

This ballot is not valid," she said.

She notified election officials. They mailed a replacement ballot.  

"How many other people have already mailed these ballots in, and the ballots are invalid, and they have no idea," Mindy asked.

Right now, there is no way to know.

"You know we are only human, and we are sending out 40,000 of these in the next couple of weeks," Hamilton County Election Administrator Beth Sheller said. 

Sheller went on to explain pieces of information every ballot is required to have including two stamps check-offs, labels, initials, instructions. For instance, a democrat and a republican must initial each ballot. If the initials aren't there, will Hamilton County election workers count the vote?

"Yes." she said. "Even though it doesn't meet the rules and regulations. Yes it does because it's our error."

Credit: Bill Ditton
Absentee ballots should have democrat and republican initials on them to be valid.

She is aware of about 20 voters who called in about ballots that aren't initialed and another 30 who received ballots missing other information. That's out of roughly 38,000 ballots already processed.

"I hate any errors," Sheller said. "But I think that is really good."

But not good enough for Mindy and her husband.

"We are going to relinquish our right to an absentee ballot and vote early next week  just because we don't have faith in the system at this point," she said. 

Hamilton County election officials said the biggest problem they have with absentee ballots is voters who don't sign them or whose signatures don't match up with voting records.