During the 2022 general election, the Hamilton County Election Board received 15 complaints of alleged voting improprieties.
That’s far more than typical, said Kathy Kreag Williams, Hamilton County clerk and the secretary to the election board. Previous election cycles would see one or two complaints, she said, perhaps more in a presidential election year.
The county election board had been considering formalizing its complaints process before the uptick, which Williams attributed to interest in local school board races that included several first-time candidates. The increase in allegations prompted the board to act to create the form.
“This is just standardizing the process to make sure we get the information we need to proceed with their complaint in an efficient manner,” Williams said.
The Election Board Grievance Form is available at hamiltoncounty.in.gov/DocumentCenter/View/17910/Election-Board-Grievance-Form?bidId=. The form also can be mailed or emailed upon request by contacting the clerk’s office at 317-776-9629.
The form asks for information about the complainant, including contact information, and includes space for details about the complaint, election rules and statutes that allegedly have been broken, names and addresses for those against whom the complaint is directed, and names and addresses of any witnesses who might support or dispute the allegations. The form must be signed and warns that false claims could result in penalties of perjury.
The form is aimed at ensuring that the information the election board receives is more uniform “rather than getting it in various forms, some less formal than others,” Williams said.
The process is as follows:
- Once a grievance form is submitted, the complainant is contacted by email, and the complaint is forward to the election board members.
- The complaint is presented at the next election board meeting after the filing. The election board meets on an as-needed basis, and on election days (this year’s primary is on May 2, with the general election Nov. 7) and 10 days after the elections for provisional ballot review.
- Both parties would be notified of the allegations coming before the election board and would be expected to attend the next meeting to answer questions regarding the complaint. The board would decide if grievances are valid and if any action is required.
Because the standardized form was introduced after last fall’s election, the process hasn’t yet been tested. If forms are filed about this year’s primary and general election, the hope is they streamline dealing with allegations. The new process isn’t expected to result in a decrease in complaints, Williams said.