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Federal court extends Indiana's absentee ballot return deadline

Until the ruling, an absentee ballot would have had to have been received by noon on Election Day.

INDIANAPOLIS — The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana granted a request to extend the state’s absentee ballot deadline. 

The ruling allows all mail-in ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 and received up to 10 days after Election Day to be counted. Until the ruling, an absentee ballot would have had to have been received by noon on Election Day.

The case was brought by Common Cause Indiana and the Indiana State Conference of the NAACP. 

“This is a huge win for Hoosier voters,” said Julia Vaughn, policy director at Common Cause Indiana. “Indiana has seen a surge in requests for mail-in ballots, and this ruling will help ensure all those voters who choose to vote by mail do not face the unnecessary barrier of an overly strict return deadline in making their voice heard.”

Hoosiers can register to vote by visiting www.IndianaVoters.com or submitting an application to register in person at their local county clerk's office by Oct. 5. The website also allows people to confirm their voter registration, look up their polling place, get driving directions to their polling location, find out who's on their ballot, track their absentee ballot application and contact local election officials.

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In order to be eligible to register to vote, you must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States,
  • Be at least 18 years old by Election Day,
  • Have lived in your precinct for at least 30 days before the election; and
  • Not currently be imprisoned after being convicted of a crime.

RELATED: How to get an absentee ballot in Indiana and make sure it gets counted

The state deadline for an Absentee Ballot Application (ABS-MAIL) is Oct. 22 by 11.59 p.m. 

The expected increase in demand for absentee ballots has the Indiana secretary of state giving guidance on when to ask for that ballot. She recommends submitting an application for an absentee ballot no later than Oct. 19.

13News reached out to the Indiana Secretary of State's Office for a response to the court's decision or how the extended days for counting would be handled and were told, "No comment at this time."