Ballot canceled when woman registers in Indiana and California
A would-be voter who illegally attempted to cast votes in both Putnam County and California is unlikely to have either of her ballots officially counted this week.
County Clerk Marty Watts told the Banner Graphic that a former DePauw student who had previously registered to vote in Greencastle cast an absentee ballot in Putnam County after having registered to vote in Santa Clara County, Calif.
"In our estimation -- and we're not a judge and jury or anything like that -- she called for a ballot to be mailed to her knowing full well that she's registered in California," Watts said.
The clerk said the issue began in early October when the woman -- whose name is not being released -- applied for an absentee ballot to be sent to California.
While at DePauw, the woman was registered to vote under a Locust Street address. The voter registration office mailed the ballot to California on Oct. 9.
Three days later came a cancellation notice from the Santa Clara County, Calif., informing local officials the woman had registered to vote in California on Sept. 16.
The Indiana absentee ballot had already been mailed, so voter registration clerk Stacia Gibson was on alert.
"Stacia said, 'We need to watch that ballot and make sure it doesn't come back. Surely she knows not to vote it because she's registered somewhere else.' In the meantime, we canceled her voter registration here," Watts said.
However, Gibson and Watts were surprised on Nov. 1 when a completed absentee ballot arrived in the woman's name.
"Stacia got this ballot in the mail and said, 'Oh my god, Marty, she went ahead and voted that ballot even though she was registered in California,'" Watts said.
County officials also voided the woman's vote, just as they had her registration.
The irony of the situation is she is also unlikely to cast a ballot in California.
When Santa Clara County officials attempted to mail the woman a voter registration receipt, the letter returned as an invalid address. Under state rules, her Califorinia registration was also canceled.
Oddly, the address in question was the same one to which Putnam County successfully sent an absentee ballot.
Although there is a possibility that voter fraud was intentionally being committed, Watts does not foresee pursuing the case any further.
"I think punishment enough is not having her vote count," Watts said.
The clerk mentioned a second case of a voter registering twice, this one involving a voter registering in Greencastle and two days later in Indianapolis.
"Marion County caught it because they saw that ours was pending," Watts said.
In the latter case, the man's Putnam County registration was canceled.
While the law is being broken in such cases, Watts did not get too carried away, expressing no opinions that anything sinister was behind the two mishaps.
"It does happen -- people get excited," Watts said. "They get anxious. It's a big election. People are fearful they're going to lose their vote."