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Mistakes in absentee ballots prompts line at Election Board

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) -- Allen County election officials apologized after at least four absentee ballots mailed to voters didn't have the necessary initials on them to make them valid.

That mistake coupled with a mistrust of the Postal Service is prompting some people to hand-deliver their ballots.

"It was very important that I see that my vote was counted properly," Janice Wise said.

Wise went to the Election Board at the Memorial Coliseum because she and her husband were concerned they'd already filed everything out before checking to make sure the paperwork had been properly initialed by members of the Republican and Democratic parties.

If those intials were missing, their ballots would be invalidated, and she wanted to put her mind at ease.

If you don't receive your absentee ballot about seven days after you requested it, call in to get a replacement to make sure no one can vote on the first ballot that's been marked with a bar code.

"I thought I checked that but we had already voted and sealed our ballots, so it was important we come out and make sure they're done properly," she said.

Allen County Election Director Beth Dlug said out of the more than 19,000 absentee ballots mailed last week, four have been reported to be missing a set of initials.

She said those ballots are reviewed by several people before being mailed, and was dismayed to learn some slipped through the cracks.

Another issue -- people have called the newsroom to complain their letter carriers delivered their absentee ballot to the wrong address.

Edith Lawson said she and her husband didn't want to take any chances.

"I've heard stories about the post office, and we just wanted to make sure out ballot got here okay. Not that we don't trust the post office, they're good people. But we wanted to deliver this ourself and know that it made it to its place and got in here good," she said.

Dlug said if you don't receive your absentee ballot about seven days after you requested it, call in to get a replacement and make sure no one can vote on the first ballot you requested that's been marked with a bar code.

"If we send out a second ballot, a replacement ballot, we would cancel out the first ballot. And when that first ballot came back to us with the tracking and bar code on it, we would realize that that is the canceled ballot, and it would not be processed," Dlug said.

Dlug allowed the Wises to open their ballots to check for the required initials, which were there, then re-seal their envelopes and sign them with an explanation so that the election board employee tallying those votes after the election would know the ballot had not been tampered with.

We reached out the Postal Service for a response, but have not yet heard back.

Corinne Rose

Corinne Rose is a reporter for WPTA.

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