(INDIANAPOLIS) – Indiana’s most closely watched race on Election Night could take a couple of
days to count.
Nearly 1.8 million Hoosiers have voted early, in person or by mail, nearly double the early
vote four years ago. That includes at least 120,000 mail-in ballots in Marion and Hamilton
Counties, which between them have 70% of the votes in the Fifth Congressional District.
Republican incumbent Susan Brooks’ retirement has created a tossup contest between State
Senator Victoria Spartz (R-Noblesville) and former State Representative Christina Hale (D-
Marion County Clerk’s spokesman Russell Hollis says the office has added more counters since the
June primary, when it took a week to count all the votes. But he predicts it’ll still take till Thursday or Friday. He says the mail-in votes in particular take a long time, because pollworkers have to open
and inspect every envelope, and compare signatures to voter registration records.
Indiana allows the counting of early votes to begin when the polls open at 6 a.m. on Election Day.
Hamilton County says if it can’t finish counting early and absentee votes by the time the polls close,
it’ll focus on Election Day votes and resume the absentee count on Wednesday.
Along with the congressional race, several state legislative races in the two counties are hotly
contested. And a delay in counting two of Indiana’s four largest counties could delay calling a winner
in the races for governor and attorney general.
Hollis says people started lining up even before the clerk’s office opened for the final day of early
voting at 8 a.m. It took more than two hours after the noon closing time before the voters already
in line made it to the front.
Secretary of State Connie Lawson’s office says there are still 80,000 absentee ballots
statewide which haven’t been returned yet. Except for military and overseas ballots, those ballots must reach the clerk’s office by noon on Election Day to be counted.