TOP STORY OF THE DAY Brought to you FREE by WICU: 2020 Election information: How you can vote

Friday, August 7, 2020
CORTESY PHOTO - Anola Gallion, Clay County Election Clerk

Mail-in ballots sure are a hot topic of the election right now, so this is some information on the process in the State of Indiana. If you have other questions beyond the information provided here, please contact the Election Clerk.

First of all, it is important to know that every State has its own election laws. This information is valid for Indiana.

In Indiana, all mail-in votes are absentee votes, but not all absentee votes are mail-in votes. Clear as mud, right? Voting “absentee” simply means that you are “absent” from the polls on Election Day. Voting with an absentee ballot will check your name off on the poll list, so you cannot vote on Election Day if you have already submitted your ballot. There are three ways to vote Absentee: 1. Mail ballots 2. Traveling Board 3. Early Voting.

To vote by mail:

You must request a ballot by filling out the ABS-Mail application. Therefore, anyone who requests a ballot in Indiana expects it and should be actively looking for it to arrive in the mail. When the ballots are mailed out, they are sent in batches, so who has been sent a ballot and on what day it was sent is tracked. If you do not receive your ballot in a timely manner, call the Election Office and report it as lost in the mail. They can cancel that ballot and issue you a new one. This does not mean you can vote twice if both ballots manage to make it to you. When a voted ballot is received back in the Election Office, it is checked in (just like it was tracked going out), so each voter may only submit one ballot.

Once a ballot arrives in the Election Office, it is put in a locked box until Election Day. That box will be opened by a bi-partisan team (meaning a Democrat and a Republican must both be present). Each ballot envelope must be signed by the voter, and that signature will be matched to the signature on the ABS-Mail application. This means that ballot envelopes that are not signed are not counted, so please SIGN YOUR BALLOT ENVELOPE.

Deadline for the Election Office to receive your application: Thursday, October 22, 2020, at 11:59 p.m.

How to submit your ballot:

By mail: Each ballot comes with a postage-paid return envelope, so if you wish to mail it, just pop it in a mailbox.

By hand 1: You are welcome to hand-deliver your ballot to the Election Office.

By hand 2: You may ask a trusted friend or family member to hand-deliver your ballot to the Election Office. They will be asked to fill out a form stating they delivered a ballot on your behalf.

By hand 3: You may place your ballot in the dropbox on the west side of the Courthouse at the ramp entrance. It will deposit into a locked box, and then will be brought to the Election Office to be put in the ballot lockbox.

Deadline for the Election Office to receive your ballot: Noon on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Next topic: What is a Traveling Board?

The Traveling Board is a bi-partisan team (one Democrat and one Republican) that will bring the ballot to the address you provide, allow you to vote, seal your ballot in an envelope, and then return the ballot to the Election Office on the same day.

To vote by Traveling Board:

Request your ballot be delivered to you by the Traveling Board by filling out the ABS-Traveling Board form. These ballots will be batched and tracked in and out of the Election Office just the same as the mail ballots. They will not leave the presence of BOTH members of the bi-partisan team until they are deposited in the ballot lockbox in the Election Office. Once again, you must remember to SIGN YOUR BALLOT ENVELOPE.

Deadline for the Election Office to receive your application: Monday, November 2, 2020, at 12 p.m.

Last topic: When is Early Voting?

Early voting starts 28 days before Election Day. This year, that date is Tuesday, October 6. You may visit the Election Office to cast your ballot on a voting machine during regular Courthouse hours (closed for lunch from 12-1 p.m.). Early voting in the Election Office will end at noon the day before the election (Monday, November 2, at 12 p.m.).

There will also be early voting open the two Saturdays before the election from 9 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The Election Office will be open in addition to one different “satellite” location each weekend. Clay County usually has a location in Bowling Green on one weekend and a location in Cory on the other weekend. More to come on, which location will be opened which weekend as the election gets closer.

Absolutely no votes that are cast before Election Day get counted before Election Day. All votes are counted in the presence of a bi-partisan team, with the count beginning on Election Day. Small counties like Clay usually finish on Election Day night, but larger counties can take a bit longer.

Clay County has a secure system and a really great team that works to make sure every vote counts!

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