40,000 Vanderburgh Co. Early Ballots Opened Wednesday

With a record turnout of voters and a new system for counting early voting ballots -- Vanderburgh County election workers are still making their way through 40,000 votes the day after the presidential election.

Posted: Nov 4, 2020 5:36 PM
Updated: Nov 4, 2020 7:50 PM

While Vanderburgh County voters normally find out the election results late into the night on presidential election day, that has not been the case this year.

"We quit over here at the Old National Events Plaza a little bit after 6 last night in opening the absentee ballots,” said Vanderburgh County Clerk Carla Hayden.

This leaves 40,000 votes still needing to be counted as of Wednesday, Nov. 4th.

And Hayden says high voter turnout, coupled with the new state mandated system of voting, which requires paper instead of electronic ballots for early voting, has made it difficult to process through them this year.

"So, the in person votes were treated very much like the in-person votes were treated yesterday,” Hayden said. “The data was just read into a computer and then we had totals. With the paper trail we have now with the new voting machines anything that was cast in-person before election day also went into an envelope and has to be opened, so that's 40,000 more envelopes to open then we have in years past."

And to make things fair -- Democrats and Republicans have been split up into teams to go through the 40,000 -- in person early voting ballots. They also have to make sure there are two signatures from poll workers on those ballots before they are sent over to the Civic Center to be scanned in the voting machine.

"So if there are any discrepancies though, like we can catch discrepancies,” said election worker Leah Whitaker. “But then we set those aside and the attorneys with the clerk's office will go through the discrepancies and make their ruling."

Hayden says it’s truly been an unusual year for the electrical process and hopes 2024 will look much different.

"It is unusual that we don't get through all of the ballots on election night,” she said. “Obviously, we've had many nights where it's been 2 a.m or something and we could get through, but we just knew we would not be able to get through."

And while all of the in-person early vote ballots were opened by 2 on Wednesday, all 40,000 still need to be tabulated through the voting machines, which could take up until 10 tonight or until tomorrow morning.

As for the results, they won’t officially be certified until the election board meets in ten days.

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