As state and county officials work to prepare for the delayed primary election, some poll locations are being moved to promote health safety during the election.
The Warrick County Election Board approved moving polls from the Newburgh Senior Center, Newburgh Health Care and SIRS in a meeting on Friday, April 24. Now, the board will rely on more schools to host poll locations for the primary election on Tuesday, June 2.
Senior centers and healthcare or nursing home places were two places that the state specifically mentioned to consider finding new locations for,” Warrick County Election Board president Andrew Skinner told the board during the meeting. “We ought to find another place for that during this time.”
Warrick County Clerk Patty Perry said the state is also committing to providing personal protective equipment and disinfectant cleaning supplies for the June election. She said gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, surface cleaner and microfiber towels will be provided to workers at each poll location.
“Poll workers will be required to wear face masks while on duty,” she said. “I have also requested face shields and dividers for further protection.”
However, Perry said she encourages voters to take advantage of the opportunity to vote by absentee ballot. She said voters can request and absentee ballot application to be mailed. Once voters receive the application they can fill it out and return it and will then be sent a ballot by mail.
Perry said previous rules only allowed certain voters to have the opportunity to vote with an absentee ballot, but those rules have been waived as a result of the pandemic. She said voters will still have the opportunity to vote early in the Warrick County Election Office from May 26 through noon on June 1 or to vote at the polls on election day.
“I would highly encourage voters to vote by absentee ballot,” she said. “Our main priority is the safety of the voters. My office is taking every precaution to protect and maintain the safety of each and every voter in Warrick County while, at the same time, protecting their constitutional right to vote. I can assure you that the absentee voter process is secure and voters do not need to worry about the possibility of their votes being compromised in any fashion.”
Governor Eric Holcomb announced earlier this month that the date of this year’s Indiana Primary Election will be moved from May 5 to June 2.
All dates corresponding with the primary election will be moved by 28 days to reflect the new date of the primary. For example, military and overseas ballots are required to mailed 45 days prior to the primary election, so they’ll move 45 days prior to June 2.
“The right of citizens to elect their leaders in a free and open election is one of the cornerstones of America. In order to balance that right with the safety of county employees, poll workers and voters, delaying Indiana’s primary election is the right move as we continue to do all we can to protect Hoosiers’ health,” said Holcomb.
Holcomb signed an executive order to suspend Indiana’s election statute and move the dates. The executive order is posted here: https://www.in.gov/gov/2384.htm
In addition, Holcomb, Lawson, Hupfer and Zody made the following recommendations to the Indiana Election Commission.
Suspend absentee by-mail rules to allow all Hoosiers the option to vote by mail in the upcoming primary election.
Allow county clerks to continually mail ballots from now through 12 days out from the new primary election date.
Confirm ballots with a May 5, 2020 date will be valid.
Enable medical professionals to be eligible members of traveling boards to vote nursing home and hospital patients.
Give family members the ability to deliver absentee ballots. Currently only a member of a voter’s household may take possession of their ballot.
“As Indiana’s Chief Election Officer, it is my top priority to protect our elections, but, above all else, it is my duty to protect the health and safety of Hoosiers,” said Secretary Lawson. “I believe the bi-partisan recommendations we have asked the Indiana Election Commission to take will allow us to provide all Hoosiers the opportunity to vote.”