Starke County Election Board officials are attempting to correct absentee ballot issues.
Starke County Clerk Vicki Cooley said they reviewed the ballots that were built using a common procedure set forth by the state. After the ballots had been built, the board was notified of an ordinance enacted by the city that differs from state procedure.
As explained by Cooley, the common procedure in a local election is to allow voters in a certain precinct to vote for candidates in that precinct on the ballot. For example, if Washington Township residents were voting for a township board member, the voters in that township would get to vote for that candidate, not the entire county. All voters choose candidates on a county level.
The ballots for the Municipal Election were created with that understanding.
A City of Knox ordinance states: “Each voter of the city shall, in the election of city council members, vote for one candidate for the at-large membership, and each citizen from the city shall vote for one candidate from the district in which the voter resides.” With that, the ballots needed to be corrected to include all eligible candidates.
Before the Starke County Election Board was presented with the ordinance, 33 absentee ballots were mailed to voters who requested to receive them. Cooley told WKVI News that they drafted a form letter explaining the issue and attached an official ABS-5 election form to the affected population. That form will need to be returned to the clerk’s office so a correct ballot can be issued.
The clerk’s office has received a handful of incorrect ballots, but nothing can be done with those sealed envelopes until the day of the Municipal Election.