Early voting underway

By Joseph Slacian

Registering to vote in the Nov. 3 General Election ended on Monday, and early voting in Indiana began on Tuesday.

In addition, the Wabash County Clerk’s office has received more than 1,500 requests for absentee ballots this year, Clerk Lori Draper told The Paper of Wabash County.

As of Sept. 30, she said, her office has mailed out 1,688 requests for absentee ballots. That is up substantially from 2016, when the office mailed 384.

“So, we have already had a significant increase,” she said. “This is largely due to COVID-19. One causes of the increase is we cannot hold voting at our three nursing homes that we have used as polling locations in the past and the residents at these homes must vote by absentee.

“We have also had an increase in voters over 65 voting by absentee who have told us they are not going to the polls because of COVID-19.”

Last week, a federal judge rejected Indiana’s noon Election Day deadline to receive absentee ballots, which would allow Indiana voters more time to mail in ballots.

Judge Sara Evans Barker means absentee ballots postmarked on or before Nov. 3 and received on or before Nov. 13 must be counted.

Common Cause Indiana argued that the noon deadline constituted “an undue burden on the fundamental right to vote” during the pandemic, court records show.

Draper declined to comment on the judge’s ruling.

As far as early voting goes, there were 5,513 early ballots cast in the 2016 election.

Draper is uncertain what this year will bring.

“If more people are voting by absentee mail this could decrease this number but I am uncertain,” she said.

Here are the hours and locations for early voting:

Monday thru Friday 8 am to 4 pm. Early voting ends at noon Monday, Nov. 2.

The clerk’s office also will be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, and Saturday, Oct. 31. The office will be closed on Monday, Oct. 12, for Columbus Day.

On Saturday Oct. 24, voting will be available at the clerk’s office, as well as at:

Town Life Center, 603 N Bond St., North Manchester.

Woodlawn United Methodist Church, 150 N 2nd Street, Somerset.

On Saturday Oct. 31, voting will be available at the clerk’s office, as well as at:

Town Life Center, 603 N Bond St., North Manchester

LaFontaine/Liberty Township Fire Department, 12 S Wabash Ave., LaFontaine

Posted on 2020 Oct 06