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Elkhart County preparing to mail out absentee ballots, open the polls

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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During the pandemic you may be choosing to vote absentee. Ballots will start being mailed across the country by Saturday. The Elkhart County Board of Elections is getting ready to send those off and preparing to open the polls. Very few Elkhart County races are uncontested.The clerk said this is the first time he remembers seeing a full ballot, which means there’s a Democratic and a Republican candidate for each of the local races.The exceptions are school board races, which are non-partisan, and a few uncontested judges.The Elkhart County clerk has bought hand sanitizer, gloves, masks and face shields in preparation for the election. The board was reimbursed about $15,000 from the CARES Act for supplies in the primary.Now they’re looking ahead to election day and the Democratic and Republican party chairs are responsible for recruiting poll workers.“I think we will get them,” said Victoria Moore, Elkhart Democratic Party secretary. "I’m a little bit concerned about getting enough substitutes because my past experience has been, we get that many substitutes in by election day we may only have one or two left before anybody that might wake up sick election day.”A question during a meeting Tuesday night was whether the board could require poll workers to wear a mask while working.“My concern had to do with making voting accessible to everyone,” said Daniel Grimes, the Elkhart county election board member appointed by the democratic party.Grimes worried that NOT requiring masks could impose a barrier for certain people to turn out and vote. The clerk said right now he’s heard differing information and is trying to clarify what the board can require for the workers themselves.As for people going to cast a ballot, the clerk says they can't enforce anything on them. “In absolutely no way shape or form can we mandate that voters must wear a mask or they will be turned away. We cannot do that,” said Chris Anderson, the Elkhart County Clerk. Elkhart County is also adding a few voting locations for election day. They are a vote center county, so that means you are able to vote at ANY location on election day.

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