More than 10,000 absentee ballots have been mailed in to the Elkhart County Clerk’s office. According to Chief Deputy Clerk Carol Smith, that’s about three times more than normal.
Because of the higher numbers, Smith said an extra crew will be brought in for the June 2 election night tally. The hope is results will be posted in a similar time frame as normal, she said.
“We are hoping it does not affect our final results (timewise),” Smith said. “We still feel we will have the results ready — maybe a little later into the night.”
Early voting is taking place this week. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
On Monday, early voting will be available from 8 a.m. to noon at only the Lincoln Center in Elkhart and First Presbyterian Church in Goshen.
On Tuesday, Election Day, polls will open at 6 a.m. and close at 6 p.m.
Smith said plans are in place to keep voters and poll workers safe.
Tables, voting machines and styluses will be disinfected. Hand sanitizer will be available for people to use. Cotton swabs will be used on the Express Vote machines, which usually requires a person to use their finger.
One of the machines will require a stylus be used, and then it will be disinfected after each use.
Sneeze guards will be placed between the poll workers and voters.
Poll workers will be asked to wear gloves and masks, but it is a suggestion not a mandate, Smith said.
Voters will also have a choice on if they want to wear a mask and gloves inside the vote center, she said.
“People can wear masks, but they may be asked to lower it for identification,” Smith said. “We are not forcing anyone to do anything.”
For those who are mailing in a ballot, the deputy clerk said that if their ballot is not in the mail by Thursday morning, the likelihood of it arriving in time to be counted at noon Tuesday is slim.
She suggests voters in that situation consider alternatives, including dropping the ballot off in person (it can be dropped off by a person who lives in the same household), voting early or voting Tuesday.
“I hope people will take that into consideration,” she said.