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What to do if you’ve not received absentee ballot yet and when you should mail it back

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — At 9 a.m. Friday, I-Team 8 mailed itself 10 postage-paid envelopes, one sent from every township in Marion County and one sent from Hamilton County.

The expectation was a few envelopes would be delivered right away while others would trickle in over the next couple days.

At 1 p.m. Monday, the mail was delivered to the News 8 studio’s on North Meridian Street. In 72 hours, all our envelopes had safely made it to the right location.

The Marion County Clerk’s Office has mailed out 91,993 mail-in absentee ballots and, as of Monday night, received back almost 54,000. The pressure on the postal system and the election board is tremendous in advance of the Nov. 3 election. On Tuesday, I-Team 8 found several people who hand-delivered their ballots to the election service center on East Washington Street.

Joann Stubbs of Indianapolis hand-delivered hers “because of what is going on and I’m not naming no names but with everything that is going on I would rather bring it up here,” to the City-County Building.

Statewide, more than 540,000 mail-in absentee ballots have been sent out to voters. The global pandemic has driven many people to cast their votes through the mail for the first time, said Indiana University assistant professor Steven Webster. He says with this wave of people voting by mail could delay the outcome.

“So, there is a real possibility that we will not know the winner until days after the election,” Webster said.

Mail-in absentee ballots must be in a Hoosier voter’s county clerk’s office by noon Nov. 3. The Postal Service recommends having absentee ballots in the mail by early next week.

Ballots delivered after the noon Nov. 3 deadline will be kept but not counted.

“What we will do is put all of those ballots in a rejected envelope, so we will save them,” said Russel Hollis of the Marion County Clerks Office.

If you have requested a mail-in absentee ballot and have not received it, call the clerk’s office immediately.

Also, if you can’t get you ballot in the mail to meet the noon Nov. 3 deadline, you can take the ballot to a voting center on Election Day and then vote in person.