Hoosiers unable to vote in person report missing, delayed absentee ballots

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Several Indianapolis voters said they didn’t receive absentee ballots that were sent out in mid-September.

The Marion County Clerk’s Office said it would investigate the matter with postal service officials but had no findings to share on Monday.

Delayed or missing absentee ballots do not appear to be a widespread problem in Indiana, according to election officials.

However, Hoosiers still waiting for ballots two weeks before the election – and Indiana’s noon deadline on Nov. 3 for absentee ballots – feared their time and options were running out.

Some voters attempting to request ballot reissues said they were unable to access the support resources they needed.

“I can’t just sit by and not do something,” said Deb Watson, an Indianapolis resident who has stage 4 cancer and a weakened immune system.

She requested an absentee ballot in August to avoid voting at the polls and potentially exposing herself to illness. 

“Even a flu or cold could kill me, so I really can’t go out,” Watson told News 8. “I need to vote by mail.”

She waited weeks but never received her ballot. County records show it was mailed on Sept. 19.

Watson called the Marion County Election Board at least four times and spent hours waiting to speak with a staffer.

The person who finally picked up her call couldn’t find the ballot reissue request form she needed and instructed her to search for it on Google, Watson said.

Joe Mathis, another Indianapolis resident, experienced similar difficulties tracking down his missing ballot. He planned to vote by mail because he takes care of his wife, who is disabled.

The couple mailed their absentee ballot applications in September and called the election board when they didn’t receive the ballots weeks later. They were told the ballots had been sent out on Sept. 11 – the same day they mailed the ballot requests.

Mathis said the election office staffer hung up the call after he and his wife questioned how their applications could have been delivered and processed the same business day.

“We just finally gave up [trying to get answers on the phone],” he told News 8.

Voters who have not received absentee ballots requested more than two weeks ago can request a new ballot by filling out form ABS-5. Here is the process for Marion County voters:

  • Print and sign the form, and return the signed copy to the Marion County Election Board at elections@indy.gov using the subject line “ABS-5 Request for Ballot Reissue.”
  • You can hand deliver or mail your completed ABS-5 form to 3737 E. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46201
  • You can fax your completed ABS-5 form to (317) 327-4815.
  • You can call the Election Board at (317) 327-5100 and press option 1, and then option 1 again to speak with Election Board staff to initiate the process of having your ballot reissued.

You can also vote in person at an early voting location or Election Day vote center. You must submit an affidavit stating you did not receive an absentee ballot.