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USPS taking 'extraordinary measures' to deliver election mail

Posted at 5:01 PM, Oct 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-23 19:30:37-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Officials recommend allowing two weeks to receive your absentee ballot. But with Nov. 3 nearing, voters feel like they’re running out of time.

Some people said they’ve been waiting more than a month to receive their ballots.

“So we don’t know exactly what happened,” Christi Johnson-Kennedy, USPS district manager for greater Indiana, said. “We are working closely with the Marion County Board of Elections, Secretary of State, and our business mailing partners to identify where in the process from printing a ballot to us accepting it into our system where something might have gone wrong.”

Johnson-Kennedy says USPS is aware of issues with ballots requested around mid-September in Marion County.

WRTV spoke with two voters this week, who requested one and have still yet to receive theirs.

“A lot of it revolves around a time around mid-September. But it is an ongoing investigation,” Johnson-Kennedy said. “So we are looking very carefully at our processes from printing all the way to acception to identify where there may have been a potential for a gap.”

Despite this issue, Johnson-Kennedy says they are committed to getting every single ballot to its correct location on time.

“Starting Monday, we are employing extraordinary measures," Johnson-Kennedy said. "We have people around the state who are looking for every single ballot. All hands on deck, extra trips, extra collections, whatever it takes to make sure everything we get the voter's ballot home. We’re taking those necessary steps.”

And giving election mail priority treatment, Johnson-Kennedy said USPS is expediting them.

"We are absolutely giving them priority treatment," she said. "When I mentioned that we are leveraging our express mail hub, we are moving that as fast as possible. Every election, every ballot mail, anything that related to this election cycle is absolutely getting special treatment.”

She says many people have called, asking them if they can handle the volume that’s coming in.

“With the machinery and employees that we have now, we are absolutely capable of handling this value,” she says. “We are not even close to exceeding our capacity.”

The district manager says what they’re seeing now is much less than what they typically handle every Christmas.

“We have put every hand on deck," Johnson-Kennedy said. "No one is sitting in an office. We are all boots on the ground right now.”

So what can you do if you haven’t received your ballot?

  • Vote in-person at an early voting location or election day vote center.
  • Complete an ABS-5 form, print and sign it, and return the signed copy to the Marion County Election Board at elections@indy.gov using the subject line “ABS-5 Request for Ballot Reissue.”
  • You can hand deliver or mail your completed ABS-5 form to 3737 E. Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46201.
  • You can fax your completed ABS-5 form to (317) 327-4815.
  • You can call the election board at (317) 327-5100 and press option 1, and option 1 again to speak with election board staff to initiate the process of having your ballot reissued.

Elections officials strongly encourage voters who still have an absentee ballot in their possession to hand-deliver their completed ballot to an election board office at the City-County Building, located at 200 E. Washington St, or 3737 E. Washington St. in Indianapolis, early voting location, or before noon at an Election Day vote center.

All absentee ballots must be received by noon on Nov. 3.