The deadline to return an absentee ballot application is 11:59 p.m. Thursday to be eligible to vote by mail in the June 2 primaries.The primaries were originally set for May 5, but were postponed after Gov. Eric Holcomb signed an executive order March 20.
The state of Indiana has taken steps to make it easier than usual to vote by mail to combat the spread of COVID-19.
People can apply for a mail-in ballot through the application found on the Indiana Voters website or locally through the Monroe County Elections Central website. People used to need a reason to apply for an absentee ballot. This year, people don’t have to provide a reason, Monroe County Elections Supervisor Karen Wheeler said.
“Time is of the essence,” Wheeler said. “These are the dates the state has given us.”
Voters can request an absentee ballot by going online, downloading, completing the application and either mailing, emailing or faxing it. She said once the office receives the application back, they mail the ballot. If you are worried your application won’t get there by mail in time, Wheeler said there is also a mail slot where ballots can be dropped at the Monroe County Government Elections Central at 401 W. Seventh St.
Wheeler said the staff completed a mass mailing last week to registered Monroe County voters, which included an absentee ballot application and letter with updated instructions.
As of Thursday, it has sent out 9,828 ballots to voters who completed the application and have had 4,009 ballots returned. To keep up with the work, furloughed Monroe County employees have been employed to help, Wheeler said.
Once the voter receives the absentee ballot, it needs to be completed and returned by noon June 2. It can be returned by email, mail or fax. It can also be delivered in person at the election office between May 26 and June 1 by noon.
Despite the increase in absentee voting accommodation, in-person voting will still be available. Monroe County has reduced the number polling locations from 34 to seven locations. Voting location can be checked online. Voting can be done at those locations on election day from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Another alternative is in-person early voting May 26 to June 1 at the elections office. People will be able to vote 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to noon Monday.
Wheeler said workers will have masks, gloves and disinfectant as they prepare ballots and work at polling sites.
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