Dem. Chair solicits ILLEGAL absentee votes while clerk under State Police investigation for handling of absentee ballots

Diana Hess St. Joseph County Indiana
Diana Hess, St. Joseph County Democrat Chair and Council Member of the St. Joseph County Council — Photo: Facebook

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — REAL News Michiana has learned St. Joseph County Democrat Chair (who is also a St. Joseph County Council Member), Diana Hess, is soliciting voters to cast their ballots illegally this fall, by frivolously requesting a mail-in ballot.

Hess sent a letter along with an application for a mail-in ballot to voters in St. Joseph County.

“You don’t have to wait to vote. You can vote by mail now!” Hess writes in the letter dated October 1st. “Voting by mail has been proven to be safe and easy.” Hess also describes Republicans as “extremist(s)” while requesting the illegal votes.

Here’s the problem, Indiana does not have a broad mail-in voting system. A voter must have a specific reason for not being able to vote in-person. The letter does not describe any of the laws surrounding mail-in voting in Indiana, pushing Democrat voters to request mail-in ballots without describing the terms under which a person can legally request a ballot. Subscribers can view the entire letter below.

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According to the Indiana Secretary of State website, “To vote absentee-by-mail in Indiana, a voter must be able to personally mark their own ballot and sign their name to the completed ballot security envelope and have a reason to request an absentee vote-by-mail ballot:

  1. You have a specific, reasonable expectation that you will be absent from the county on Election Day during the entire 12 hours that the polls are open (6 am until 6 pm).
  2. You have a disability.
  3. You are at least 65 years of age.
  4. You will have official election duties outside of your voting precinct.
  5. You are scheduled to work at your regular place of employment during the entire 12 hours that the polls are open.
  6. You will be confined due to illness or injury or you will be caring for an individual confined due to illness or injury during the entire 12 hours that the polls are open.
  7. You are prevented from voting because of a religious discipline or religious holiday during the entire 12 hours that the polls are open.
  8. You are a participant in the state’s address confidentiality program.
  9. You are a member of the military or a public safety officer.
  10. You are a “serious sex offender” as defined in Indiana Code 35-42-4-14(a).
  11. You are prevented from voting due to the unavailability of transportation to the polls.

A voter applying for an absentee-by-mail ballot does not need to present proof of identification. However, a first time voter in Indiana who registered to vote by mail and did not provide proof of residency will be asked to include that evidence with their absentee balloting materials. This can be a state-issued ID where the address matches their registration, but can also be a bank statement, utility bill, etc.”


This comes at the same time the Democrat St. Joseph County Clerk is facing TWO investigations by the Indiana State Police for potential election crimes involving the handling of absentee ballots.

Last week, a REAL News Michiana investigation uncovered video of Clerk Rita Glenn disposing of documents after entering the secured absentee ballot area, alone, after hours. She is seen taking a plastic bag into the ballot room, then coming out with several documents which she disposes of by shoving them down the sides of a blue trash can.

In May, RNM uncovered the Clerk’s Office was in possession of multiple keys to gain access to the secured ballot room. The room in the County-City Building, in Downtown South Bend, is secured with two different locks, one for the Republicans the other for the Democrats. In theory, a Republican and Democrat keyholder must be present to gain access to the ballots. While Republican leadership was under the impression that only one key existed for each lock, it turns out there could be up to 7 keys total, with multiple Republican keys being held by Democrats.

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  1. The Indiana Republican Party is also sending out brochures with two absentee ballot request forms attached. A Tea Party member who received one brought it to our meeting last night. The return address on the mailer indicated it was from the Indiana Republican Party with their Ohio St. address in Indianapolis. So, apparently, this is legal. Both sides are doing it.


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