A Marion County judge ordered Friday that absentee ballots challenged at the polls on Election Day be set aside for review by bipartisan teams later in the week.
County Republicans said the ruling, issued in response to their lawsuit, is likely to end up affecting few ballots and would follow a process in place in Marion County under the previous clerk.
But it means that any ballots facing challenges won't be counted Tuesday or show up in election results that night.
Circuit Judge Theodore Sosin, a Republican, stressed after hearing four hours of arguments Friday that all valid ballots would eventually be counted.
Early voting centers must remain open in the Lake County Democratic strongholds of Gary, Hammond and East Chicago, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday, dealing Republicans another setback in their effort to keep Indiana in the GOP column in the presidential race.
The court's unanimous decision came just hours before Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama was scheduled to campaign in the county next to Chicago