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[UPDATE NO. 1: From a 10:16 p.m. Tuesday statement: "The Marion County Election Board unanimously voted to suspend the counting of absentee ballots. There are approximately 50,000 absentee ballots that have yet to be counted. The Election Board will resume counting absentee ballots at 10 a.m. Wednesday."

UPDATE NO. 2: "From a 7:57 p.m. Wednesday statement: The Marion County Election Board concluded its counting of absentee ballots at 7 p.m. Approximately 60,897 absentee ballots have been counted during Election Day and Wednesday. The counted absentee ballots, and all Election Day voting has been added to the Marion County election results page. The Marion County Election Board will resume counting absentee ballots Thursday at 10 a.m., and should conclude counting absentee ballots Thursday. There are approximately 23,000 absentee ballots remaining to be counted."

UPDATE NO. 3: "From an 8:57 p.m. Thursday statement: The Marion County Election Board completed counting absentee ballots at approximately 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8. All absentee ballots have been counted and have been uploaded to the Marion County election results page. Voter turnout was 47.65 percent and there were 308,766 ballots cast. There were 83,293 absentee ballots cast."

UPDATE NO. 4: The Marion County Election Board will meet Nov. 16 to review provisional ballots, military, and overseas ballots. On Nov. 19, the board will certify the results of the 2018 General Election.]

As voters who decided to wait until Election Day were busy casting their ballots at their assigned polling locations, the thousands of absentee ballots already cast were being counted by Democratic and Republican appointees at the Marion County Election Board Service Center.

Marion County Clerk Myla Eldridge said these absentee ballots would be the first to be reported when the initial numbers were released after the polls close at 6 p.m. She said the sheer volume of absentee ballots cast, would mean the final count of absentee ballots would probably be in closer to the end of the night.

“We have a great problem, and that is we had so many people early vote and we have to count all these ballots,” she said. “We're just going to do the best we can.”

After the polls closed at the new satellite voting locations for the last time this year at 5 p.m. Sunday, Russell Hollis, deputy director at the Marion County Clerk's Office, released their final report.

Approximately 7,978 people went to the polls Sunday, the 22nd day of early voting in Marion County, making it the largest day of in-person early voting in modern history—2008 to now—according to Hollis.

“It is worth noting that 2016 had four more days of early voting than 2018 because early voting occurred every weekend in October 2016,” stated Hollis. “Regardless, absentee voting in 2018 has surpassed 2016 totals.”

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Absentee ballots being counted in Marion County

In person early voting in 2016 totaled 45,823, while this year it was 64,816. Absentee by mail requests was nearly equal with 2016 totaling 21,072, and this year's total being 19,775. The number of absentee by mail ballots returned was also nearly equal as 2016 totaled 19,578, and this year's total being 16,665.

In all, 83,018 people voted early this year, compared with 68,118 in 2016.

Eldridge said ballots cast on Election Day would be recorded on a flash drive, which would then be transmitted to the Election Service Center from one of the regional centers.

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“It is a process,” she said. “In the past, the poll workers actually counted the ballots. But, the law changed and required Marion County to become a central count county.”

Results will be released cumulatively on the city’s website starting at 6 p.m. https://my.indy.gov/workflow/election-results

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/11/06/us/elections/results-house-forecast.html

Rob Burgess, News Editor at NUVO Newsweekly, can be reached by email at rburgess@nuvo.net, by phone at 317-808-4614 or on Twitter @robaburg.

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News Editor