INDIANAPOLIS — One of the top trending searches after the second presidential debate was whether or not someone can change an in-person early vote or absentee vote.
That increased even more on Monday when President Trump tweeted: "Strongly Trending (Google) since immediately after the second debate is CAN I CHANGE MY VOTE? This refers changing it to me. The answer in most states is YES. Go do it. Most important Election of your life!"
Some 73 million Americans already voted in person or by mail as of Tuesday, which is more than half of the turnout from 2016.
Can a Hoosiers change an in-person early vote or absentee vote before Election Day?
No. In Indiana, once an absentee ballot is returned or an in-person early vote is cast it is final.
WHAT WE FOUND
While the president claimed most states allow you to change a vote, that depends on several factors. Some states will allow you to void your ballot if you haven't sent it back yet, if it hasn't been counted, or if there is enough time to send you a new ballot. That's referred to as "spoiling" a ballot. Some states will allow you to invalidate your vote by a certain deadline and the allow you to vote on Election Day. In New York, voters can cast a new ballot during early voting or on Election Day and then ask for their initial ballot to be invalidated.
However, in Indiana none of those circumstances are allowed. 13News reached out and got responses from both the Secretary of State's Office and Marion County Clerk's Office.
Both departments made it clear that in Indiana, once you cast your vote, you can't go back and change it. That applies to absentee ballots and early-voting.
"A voter cannot call the Clerk’s Office and request their in-person early voting ballot or their absentee by mail ballot be spoiled so they can vote on Election Day," said Russell Hollis, deputy director at the Marion County Clerk's Office.
Both absentee by mail ballots and early voting ballots will not be counted until Election Day.
What if I have an absentee ballot I didn't turn in?
If you want to vote in person but have an absentee ballot you have not sent in, you can turn the ballot in at the polling location to be able to vote. The state considers it a "spoiled" ballot, which is essentially like writing void on a check. A voter does not need a specific reason for choosing to surrender an absentee ballot at the polls in order to vote.
If you don't produce your absentee ballot, you can file a provisional ballot at a polling location. If you have already submitted your absentee ballot, you can not vote a second time.