Goshen News, Goshen, IN

March 27, 2014

Want to vote early? Here's how

By JOHN KLINE john.kline@goshennews.com
Goshen News

---- — GOSHEN — Absentee voting for the May 6 primary will begin soon.

Elkhart County Clerk Wendy Hudson has announced that absentee voting in person will begin April 8 at 8 a.m. for the May 6 primary election for those who won’t be able to make it to the polls. The last day for absentee voting will be May 5 at noon.

Elkhart County residents will be able to vote absentee at four locations this year. Those locations are:

• The Elkhart County Administration Building, 117 N. Second St., Room 108, Goshen;

• The Elkhart County Courts Building, 315 S. Second St., Elkhart;

• The Middlebury Town Hall, 418 N. Main St., Middlebury (April 26 and May 3 only); and

• The First Brethren Church, 1600 N. Main St., Nappanee (April 26 and May 3 only).

Residents wishing to vote absentee in person will need to show a photo ID that displays the voter’s photo, name, and an expiration date that is either current or that expired after Nov. 2, 2012.

Hudson noted that in most cases, an Indiana driver’s license, Indiana photo ID card, military ID or U.S. passport will be sufficient. A student ID from an Indiana state school may be used, but only if it meets all of the four required criteria.

“A student ID from a private institution may not be used for voting purposed,” Hudson said.

The schedule of available voting days and times is as follows:

• Mondays (except May 5) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Elkhart and Goshen)

• Tuesday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Elkhart and Goshen)

• Saturday, April 26, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. (all four locations)

• Saturday, May 3, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. (all four locations)

• Monday, May 5, from 8 a.m. to noon (Elkhart and Goshen)

“The absentee boards will be closed on Friday, April 18, in observance of Good Friday,” Hudson said. “The absentee voter boards are open through the lunch hour.”

Voting at home

In addition to in-person absentee voting, voters can also qualify to vote by traveling absentee voter board if they are confined, ill or have been injured; if they are caring for a confined person; or if they are a voter with disabilities and believe the available polling places on Election Day are not accessible to them.

“The deadline for the election board to receive an application to vote by travel board is Monday, May 5, by noon, but can be submitted at any earlier time,” Hudson said. “Once the application is received and approved, the election board will make contact with the voter to schedule a date and time that a bipartisan absentee board can visit the voter to assist them with casting their ballot. Absentee voting by traveling board begins on Thursday, April 26.”

Voting by mail

As a third option for voting, Hudson noted that voters can also vote absentee by mail if they qualify. Qualifying reasons to vote absentee by mail include:

• Expecting to be out of town on Election Day;

• Expecting to be confined on Election Day due to illness or injury;

• Expecting to be caring for a confined person on Election Day;

• If a person is a voter with disabilities. In this case, an absentee voter who is unable to make their own ballot or sign the ballot security envelop must vote by travel board.

• If a voter will have official election duties outside their voting precinct;

• If a voter is scheduled to work the entire 12 hours the polls are open on Election Day;

• If a voter is unable to vote on Election Day due to observance of a religious discipline or religious holiday the entire 12 hours the polls are open;

• If a voter is a member of the military or is a public safety officer.

“The deadline for the election board to receive an application to vote absentee by mail is Monday, April 28, 2014 by 11:59 p.m.,” Hudson said.

To vote absentee by mail or travel board, a voter can contact the election board at 574-535-6469 to receive an absentee ballot application, or one can be obtained for printing at www.elkhartcountyclerk.com. Completed absentee applications are accepted via mail or hand-delivery by the election board, 101 N. Main St., Room 204, Goshen, or by fax to 574-535-6471.

“Voters can view their ballot by providing basic information at www.Indianavoters.com,” Hudson said. “The election board can also mail a sample ballot to a voter upon request.”

To request a sample ballot, contact the election board at 574-535-6469 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Mondays and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.

Poll worker training

The Elkhart County Election Board will hold poll worker training sessions for the 2014 primary election beginning in April.

The schedule of available training days and times is as follows:

• Monday, April 21, at 6 p.m.

• Tuesday, April 22, at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

• Wednesday, April 23, at 6 p.m.

• Monday, April 28, at 6 p.m.

• Tuesday, April 29, at 2 p.m.

• Wednesday, April 30, 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Anyone interested in working at a vote center should contact either the Republican Party or Democratic Party at the following numbers:

• Democratic Party, Shari Mellin: 262-4213 or 849-1580

• Democratic Party, Chad Crabtree: 574-594-6750

• Republican Party, Mary Nisly: mary@elkhartgop.com or mary@ctsolves.com

“After contacting the appropriate political party, vote center board members are required to sign up for training to ensure that classes are of no more than 35 people,” Hudson said. “Hands-on training will be included on the touchscreen voting equipment and on the new electronic poll book.”

In order to sign up for a class, interested parties are asked to contact Voter Registration at 535-6770 or 535-6774 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Vote center board members are paid for their time during the election. A breakdown of election compensation is as follows:

• Supervisors: $150 plus a $10 food allowance and $10 for attending training

• Sheriffs: $110 plus a $10 food allowance and $10 for attending training

• Clerks: $110 plus a $10 food allowance and $10 for attending training

Hudson noted that poll workers must attend and sign in at a training session and work a full day at the polls on Election Day in order to receive the training allowance.