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‘Dead Voter Law’ Reason For Delays In Monroe County Election Results

A law prohibiting dead people from voting was responsible for delays in tallying election results last month.

That’s according to the Monroe County Election Board who oversees the vote counting process. They said most of the ballots were processed by 8 p.m. on election night.

But final results weren’t available until early the next morning. Board member Brian Lemonds said that’s because of what he called the “dead voter law.”

The dead voter law says that if anyone dies after submitting an early vote before election day, then the vote doesn’t count.

County Clerk Linda Robbins said Monroe County has never had to invalidate more than three votes because of the law. Robbins and Lemonds both said the law should be repealed.

“If someone took time to vote, it should count, so I think it should be repealed,” Robbins says.

The law applies to all of the counties throughout Indiana, most of which typically get their results tallied before Monroe County. Robbins said the voting system in Monroe County is responsible for some of the complications.

“As long as we continue with the same kind of voting system, the best option would be to repeal the dead voter law,” Robbins says.

Over 19,000 residents cast their ballot in person this fall and over 7,000 absentee ballots were sent in for the midterm election.

A New Statewide Voter App Launches With National Voter Registration Day

Today is National Voter Registration Day and in celebration, Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson urges Hoosiers to use a new mobile registration app to confirm or register their vote.

As part of a 50-state effort to encourage civic participation, Secretary Lawson urges all Hoosiers to take advantage of the full-service application that will also look up their polling place, get driving directions to the site, see who is on their ballot, track their application and contact election officials.

Apple users can access the application via iTunes from a mobile device or tablet by searching “Indiana voters,” and Android users can access it via their mobile app store by searching “Indiana Voters.” A full list of events to be held in celebration of National Voter Registration Day, can by found here.

Election Board Struggle With Complex Voter Laws

The Monroe County Election Board struggled with the complexities of election law May 16 as they decided whether to invalidate some ballots cast during the May 6 primary election.

The Board met to consider provisional ballots, which voters cast when poll workers have questions about their eligibility to vote. In one case, County Clerk Linda Robbins said a homeless man voted at the wrong polling place.

William Ellis, a substitute Board member representing the Republican party, said he would like to count the vote. But Ellis said that wasn’t possible because the voter used the wrong ballot, meaning he would have voted in some of the wrong races.

“Being homeless is a hard enough hardship and the vote, if all being equal, I’d be inclined to make this valid,” Ellis says. “It’s hard to prove where you live if you aren’t living anywhere.”

Ellis participated as a Board member even though he plans to run for office in November. Ellis has said he plans to seek the Republican nomination for County Assessor during a caucus this summer.

The Board members were not allowed to look at the provisional ballots they considered. That restriction became an issue when one voter’s paperwork was sealed in an envelope along with the ballot.

The Board voted to rule that ballot invalid. The Board considered some provisional ballots that were cast by voters who did not bring IDs to the polls. Robbins, who opposes the state’s voter ID law, recommended counting one of those ballots.

She said poll workers might not have instructed the voter on how to ensure their vote would be counted after Election Day.

“I do believe the photo ID is a burden for certain individuals,” Robbins says.

Later in the meeting, Robbins said the complex rules for casting provisional ballots are often a source of confusion during elections.

“Filling out a provisional ballot at the polls has been a huge challenge for us,” Robbins says. “It’s very confusing for everybody. Frankly, I’ll commend anybody that has the patience to stay there and must really want to vote to go through that process.”

The Board voted to invalidate two provisional ballots cast at retirement homes. The voters had been registered to vote at previous residences.

Today is first day of early voting!

Today is the first day to vote early in this year’s primary elections. Party representation on the ballots ranging from school board and townships offices to the state and federal level are up for election. Voters who want to cast their ballots before the formal primary election day, Tuesday, May 6, can do so on non-holiday weekdays and the last two Saturdays from today until May 6th. A few changes in the voting process have been instituted this voting season. One is a change of location, moving from the Curry Building to a couple blocks west at 401 West 7th Street. Linda Robbins, Monroe County Clerk and the person overseeing local voting, explains the reason for the move.

“The location’s changed but we really hope people come out and see us there and vote,” Robbins says.

Over the last few election cycles, the county has been under pressure to make the primary voting site, as well as all of the local regular voting locations, fully accessible to the physically impaired, as required by the 2002 Help America Vote Act. Receiving your ballot should also be a faster and smoother process.

“I think it will be much easier for people to come vote,” Robbins says, “We have a few new features, for example we can scan your driver’s license if that’s your form of ID and enter that. We also have new e-poll books that won’t change much for the voter, but anyone working the polls will notice a big change.”

The newly adopted E-poll books will also allow for immediate access to find out who and how many people have voted. Early voting will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, except for Good Friday, May 18, and Monday, May 5, the day before the May 6 regular voting day, when it will close at noon, as well as from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on the two Saturdays before May 6. If you have any questions, you can phone the County Clerk’s office at 812-349-2071.

Daily Local News – April 7, 2014

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The Bloomington City Council is scheduled to vote this coming Wednesday on a resolution to hire sharpshooters to cull deer in Griffy Nature Preserve; The Monroe County Commission endorsed a nationwide minimum wage increase on Friday; The office of the Indiana State Chemist and Seed Commissioner is seeking approval for the production of industrial hemp; The first day of early absentee walk-in primary voting starts tomorrow at 8:30 am, and lasts until 6 pm every day through Friday, April 11th.

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CREDITS
Anchors: Maria McKinley, Doug Storm
Today’s headlines were written by David Murphy, Neal Earley, and Chelsea Hardy.
Activate! is produced by Jennifer Whitaker,
Our engineer today is Chris Martin,
Editor is Drew Daudelin, Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh.

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