Primary election delayed

By Joseph Slacian

The May 5 Primary Election has been postponed until June 2, Gov. Eric Holcomb announced on Friday, March 20.

That comes as a bit of relief for the Wabash County Election Board.

“We are having major issues with the May 5 date,” Wabash County Clerk Lori Draper told The Paper of Wabash County. “We have lost polling locations and poll workers because of the virus.”

The county also doesn’t have enough supplies for absentee voting if more voters choose to vote by mail, she said.

“Another concern is we do not have enough cleaning supplies for election workers to keep everything at polling locations sanitized at this time. This extension will give us more time to order additional supplies and find locations for the voting.”She said she believes it is the right move “to allow citizens their right to elect their leaders and to keep election workers and voters safe.”

Holcomb said he made the decision after consulting with Secretary of State Connie Lawson, Republican Party Chair Kyle Hupfer and Democratic Party Chair John Zody

All dates corresponding with the primary election will be moved by 28 days to reflect the new date of the primary, Holcomb announced in a press release. 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,” Holcomb said..

Holcomb signed an executive order to suspend Indiana’s election statute and move the dates.

In addition, Holcomb, Lawson and the party chairs 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,” Lawson said. “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.

Indiana Election Commission Chairman Paul Okeson has called a meeting of the Indiana Election Commission on Wednesday, March 25 at 10 a.m. to discuss the recommendations.

Draper said her office will keep the voting public informed of other changes through her office’s website and the local media.

Posted on 2020 Mar 24