Hoosiers who applied for absentee ballots in the November election should check their status after the state found that faulty applications had been distributed by the Indiana Democratic Party.
"I believe there could be hundreds of thousands of these applications in circulation so I'm concerned for these voters," Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson said Friday.
In the 2014 general election, there were 228,932 absentee votes or about 16 percent of the vote total in Indiana.
To resolve potential problems, Lawson asked the Indiana Election Division to instruct counties to approve defective applications.
However, some county election officials have already rejected the applications. Those already rejected would be approved under the request, which was granted mid-morning Friday.
"Some had already moved to reject the applications not knowing the widespread effect," Lawson said.
Neither Lawson nor the Indiana Election Division could state how many counties or voters were affected. She said a "handful" of counties have rejected applications.
"If a county has rejected them, they now know that the forms are OK to use and the county boards meet again to discuss the applications," Lawson said.
Lawson referred Hoosiers to Indianavoters.com to check their status for the Nov. 6 election. If the application was rejected, a voter can request another through the website.
The deadline for absentee-by-mail applications to be received by a county office for the 2018 general election is Oct. 29.
The first day that a voter may submit an absentee ballot in the office of their county election board or at a satellite office is Oct. 10.
The Democratic Party distributed applications that did not have instructions as required by state law. They were distributed through a mass mailing, Lawson said.
In response, Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody indicated that Lawson had initially decided to void the defective absentee ballot applications.
“We are glad the secretary of state agrees with Hoosier Democrats that every eligible voter in Indiana should be able to freely and easily exercise their constitutional right to vote. We will continue to work toward this goal until the polls close on Tuesday, Nov. 6," Zody said in a statement.
Lawson was contacted by the Indiana Democratic Party about the faulty applications on Thursday.