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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Postal Service defends handling of absentee ballots as agency prepares to meet with Indiana election officials

13 Investigates first reported just over 1,800 absentee ballots did not count in the Marion County primary election, while nearly 100 didn’t count in Delaware County

INDIANAPOLIS — County clerks across Indiana are planning to open more polling places before the fall election in hopes of avoiding thousands of uncounted absentee ballots.

13 Investigates first reported just over 1,800 absentee ballots did not count in the Marion County primary election, while nearly 100 didn’t count in Delaware County. In fact, the Delaware County clerk discovered ballots were mailed to the wrong counties. 

But amid questions of misdirected mail, the postal service is defending its handling of ballots.

“There were no delays in the delivery of election mail and claims of receiving ballots over two weeks after ballots were mailed were inaccurate,” said Mary Dando, USPS Greater Indiana District. 

But some voters tell 13News their ballots arrived well after the June 2 primary. Dando admits there were what the agency described as “processing issues,” with the large number of absentee ballots prior to the primary. She said the USPS is consulting with election officials about how they should design mailings within postal regulations that will ensure efficient and cost-effective processing.

“We regret any concern caused and suggest you direct further questions to the Indiana Secretary of State and Boards of Election,” added Dando.

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According to Delaware County Clerk Rick Spangler, steps are already in the works to increase access to polling places for as many as four weeks before the general election, in hopes of limiting the number of absentee ballots.

“The state is going to change the way the absentee application is done, by putting the questions back on the application, where you know you have to have a reason for requesting one,” Spangler added.