Chroback: in-person early voting heavy, no serious problems reported

Story by WNLP’s Beth Boardman

La Porte County Clerk Kathy Chroback says in-person early voting has been heavy in its first seven days.

“So far, early voting in person (as of the end of Oct. 15) is 5,952,” Chroback told WNLP. “Voting in person has been heavy – anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half wait, mostly in La Porte city and Michigan City. The new location, Coolspring, has been well received with 1,315 people voting there so far. Wanatah has been lower than anticipated with 407.

“The number of applications that have been processed is 13,296 (obtained in-house and mailed). We have received 7,227 ballots back so far.”

“There have been no problems, really,” she said, “except for the first couple of days trying to get logged into the state’s voting system, SVRS. We got an hour late start in both La Porte and Michigan City.”

Chroback reminded citizens of where to turn in their finished paper ballots. “Some folks have tried to turn their paper ballots in at the early voting sites. We cannot accept them there. They have two options: drop in the mail or deliver to my office, clerk, in La Porte only (main floor of the courthouse, Suite 105). We do not have any drop boxes; those are not allow in Indiana.
“Also, some have tried to change their minds after receiving their ballots in the mail and wanted to vote in person. That is not allowed, either. The state looks at that as ‘changing your mind’ after the voter elected to vote by mail. The only way (a voter who received a ballot by mail can vote in person) is if their ballot was never received at its destination, or it was destroyed. The voter then must complete an ABS-5 (Statement Concerning Defective, Lost, Destroyed or Spoiled Absentee Ballot) under oath in order to vote on the machine.”

If an application is lost or not completed thoroughly, a new application is forwarded to the voter. “The state indicated that we do not need to do this as it is not our responsibility to offer that option,” she said. “I, however, have personally re-mailed a new application to the voter who has not completed it correctly or did not sign it.

“We have surpassed applications for voting by mail from 2016, when the grand total was 12,434. We still have one more week to go to receive applications.

“Applications must be received at my office by the close of business on Oct. 22, unless emailed or faxed; ballots sent by those methods need to be time-stamped by 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 22. No applications are accepted after that; folks will instead need to early vote or go to their polling place,” she said.

All polling places will be open on Election Day Nov. 3. Polling places are listed at

The voting sites will have social distancing markings for workers and voters, and voters are highly encouraged to wear masks. “Poll workers are required to wear masks as per the Indiana Secretary of State,” Chroback said. “Voters cannot be forced to wear masks, but are encouraged to do so in order to protect everyone. Masks will be available for those who do not have one.”

Mail-in ballots will not be counted until Election Day at 6 p.m., according to state law, she said. All mail-in ballots must be received by the clerk’s office by noon on Election Day.

“There was an earlier decision that we could accept ballots until Nov. 13 if postmarked on Nov. 3, but that has since been overturned,” she explained.

Remaining in-person early voting dates, times and locations are:
— Friday, Oct. 16, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
— Monday through Friday, Oct. 19-23, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
— Saturday, Oct. 24, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
— Monday through Friday, Oct. 26-29, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
— Saturday, Oct. 31, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
— Monday, Nov. 2, from 8 a.m. to noon

Early voting will be available at the following locations:
— La Porte County Annex Building (behind the courthouse), La Porte
— Michigan City County Annex, 302 W. Eighth St. (corner of 8th and Wabash), Michigan City
— Former Coolspring branch of the La Porte County Public Library, 7089W CR-400N, Michigan City
— Wanatah Town Hall, 104 N. Main St., Wanatah

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