More than 300 absentee applications rejected in Vanderburgh Co.

More than 300 absentee applications rejected in Vanderburgh Co.
Published: May. 21, 2020 at 10:01 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - As the Indiana Primary Election draws near, Vanderburgh County Clerk of Courts Carla Hayden says some absentee ballot requests are not in compliance with the law.

Evansville resident Joyce Assalone recently submitted her request for an absentee ballot, but soon after, she received a letter from the Vanderburgh County Board of Elections saying her ballot application was rejected.

“I was shocked! Then I realized, the deadline is Thursday,” Assalone said.

The application she received was from volunteer Jan Reed and according to Hayden, that application, and more than 300 others mailed out by Reed, already had the Democratic Party box checked off.

“I would like this to be absolutely clear - this individual was in no way affiliated with the Election Office," Hayden said. “To the best of my knowledge, she was an individual acting on her own.”

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“That’s why we reached out and didn’t take any other action beyond just reaching out saying, 'hey you can’t do this," Hayden said.

Even after being asked to stop by the election office and Democratic Party Chair Edie Hardcastle, Hayden says postmarks reveal it continued. Hardcastle believes Reed was just misinformed.

“To us, the appearance was that she was simply uninformed," Hardcastle said. “Which is why, again, the legal code is very complex. You don’t want to be out there doing this without running things through.”

But now the Board of Elections has sent their findings to the prosecutor’s office, saying that Reed may have committed a felony.

“It has caused a great deal of extra work for our office, in having to take them, void them, enter them into the system as being rejected, and then sending out a new one. So we’re having to handle them twice at least," Hayden said.

The election office has mailed out new applications for those that sent in the ones mailed to them by Jan Reed.

14 News reached out to Reed, but she has not returned our phone calls.

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