Warrick County is working to move forward with a plan to add two new early voting locations for the fall general election.
The Warrick County Election Board approved the addition of two new satellite voting locations for early voting — one in Lynnville and one in Newburgh — ahead of the Nov. 3 General Election. Warrick County Clerk Patty Perry said previous satellite locations were only located in the southern part of the county, but she wanted to ensure there was early voting available in all regions of the county.
“That’s not fair to the voters,” she said.
Perry said access to early voting will be critical for the fall election. She said people still have the ability to vote safely on election day, but early voting will help that process remain safe.
“It’s going to eliminate long lines at the polls on election day. People will still be able to have that right to be able to go to a polling machine or location to vote so they don’t have to do an absentee ballot,” she said. “With the Covid issue right now we are looking at that option very seriously so we can eliminate long lines for the election.”
However, Perry said the Election Office will have to work with the Warrick County Council to get funding in order ahead of the election.
In the council’s regular meeting on Thursday, Sept. 3, the council discussed covering extra expenses from the primary as well as the general election with an additional appropriation of election funds and rainy day funds. In total, Perry told the council her office currently needs an additional $47,218.89 to cover expenses from the primary that were over budget as well as expected increased costs for the general election including $15,329.84 to cover the costs the new satellite voting locations.
“I’m sure as you can imagine, our absentee ballot applications are exploding. We’re currently at 2,500 that we’ve received from people requesting absentee ballots,” she said.
Perry said the increased use of absentee voting through the mail has cost her office thousands of dollars in additional postage. She said the office is $3,288.45 in the red when it comes to postage costs from the primary alone. She said her office is expecting that to double for the fall.
However, Perry said her office is working with available grants and funding options through the state to cover the excess costs. She said the entire additional appropriation will likely be reimbursed in the end.
The council couldn’t approve the appropriation in their September meeting because it was not advertised prior to the meeting, but the council gave a consensus that the issue would be voted on in their next meeting.
“I think we all want to see satellite voting. I can’t speak for everybody, but that’s kind of the feeling,” Council president Greg Richmond said.
The Warrick County Council is scheduled to meet for a regular meeting on Thursday, Oct. 1, at 6 p.m.