UPDATE: Allegations of voter fraud investigated in Monroe County

The Indiana State Police responded to allegations that a Democratic Monroe County employee was found holding absentee ballots from overseas Tuesday.

Initial reports from The Associated Press stated that the FBI was conducting an investigation into the matter. County clerk Jim Fielder and Jack Schmit, a Republican Monroe County Election Board member, both said the FBI began an investigation, but Indiana State Police First Sgt. Dave Bursten said the FBI was never involved.

Wendy Osbourne, spokeswoman for the Indianapolis office of the FBI, said she could not confirm or deny whether any investigations were being conducted. The FBI does have jurisdiction over voter fraud allegations, she said.

"We can't confirm anything until it becomes public record and any arrests are made," Osbourne said.

Schmit, who is also an IU faculty member, said the Election Board determined the employee had a duplicate key, which she was not authorized to have, to a room in the Curry Building where the ballots were kept. Schmit said the FBI did come and ask questions about the situation.

Schmit said the employee had about 19 or 20 ballots in her possession and that right now, the Election Board is considering them provisional ballots and will review them within the next 10 days.

Schmit said a dual team of Republicans and Democrats were working together Tuesday night to review the situation. He said the county had signed affadavits in their possession to verify the ballots that needed counted.

"The FBI and the state police confirmed that the administrative process was in place," Schmit said.

Bursten said that the state police only made a preliminary inquiry into the situation, which they do "quite regularly."

"At this point, it's been agreed with the Republicans and the Democrats that they will more closely review the ballots that they feel may be an issue sometime tomorrow," Bursten said.

Franklin Andrew, chairman of the Monroe County Republican Party, said the FBI contacted him Tuesday and told him about the situation.

"I think she should be ashamed of herself," Andrew said. "But we'll leave all that to the prosecutors, the FBI and the police."

Glenn Murphy, chairman of the Republican party in Clark County, where Republican Congressional candidate Mike Sodrel's campaign was waiting for the results, said Clark County experienced similar problems Tuesday.

"That's what we've been finding in Clark County," Murphy said. "That's what we've been trying to protect against."

Schmit said the woman, who is a temporary employee, was not given access to the voting process later in the day and was given other work to do in the Curry Building.

Michael Reschke, Brian Spegele and Michael Sanserino contributed reporting from Bloomington. Paige Ingram contributed reporting from Jeffersonville.

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