• Last modified 667 days ago (July 23, 2020)


Requests for absentee ballots explode

Staff writer

Voters getting a jump on the Aug. 4 primary have swamped Marion County clerks with a record 1,032 requests for absentee ballots.

That number represents a surge of more than 706% from 128 ballots issued in the 2018 primary and a 116% jump from 478 mail-in ballots given in the 2016 general election.

County clerk Tina Spencer says applications are still flowing in ahead of the July 28 deadline.

“COVID-19 has absolutely had an impact,” she said, adding that the boom has kept staff “extremely busy.”

“While there have been a few voter questions, entering the advance ballot applications, following up with voters to correct deficiencies on the applications, and issuing the ballots have been the most time-consuming tasks,” she said.

Early voting, which began Monday, has “gained a lot of popularity with voters” in recent years, but Spencer said COVID-19 concerns made in-person turnout hard to predict.

Voters who show up at the courthouse or polling places will receive a stylus they will use to sign in and mark their ballots. They will take the stylus with them when they leave.

Poll workers will have masks and hand sanitizer available at the door. A photo ID will be required.

Spencer asks voters to be “kind and understanding” with 40 to 50 election workers who assist them. Lines might look longer because of social distancing.

Volunteers will just be following policy.

“They are going through extra steps to serve you as safely as possible while possibly even risking their own health in the process.”

Early in-person voting will continue from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday until July 31 and until noon on Aug. 3. Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 4.

Last modified July 23, 2020