In this oddest of election years, there still are deadlines to meet, and an important one is Thursday – the last day to request a ballot to vote by mail. The Allen County Election Board strongly recommends all voters cast primary election ballots by mail instead of voting early in person or on June 2.
COVID-19 precautions prompted the state to waive usual restrictions on absentee voting. Everyone is eligible and encouraged to vote by mail.
Beth Dlug, director of elections for Allen County, said her office has mailed more than 33,000 ballots and expected to have received more than 20,000 completed ballots by the end of Tuesday. About 98,000 voters cast ballots in May 2016; 2,815 of them by mail.
“We've had a tremendous response from voters to our encouragement to vote by mail. We will continue to help everyone we can get their application to us by Thursday's deadline,” she wrote in an email. “We also turn our attention to encouraging all voters who have received a ballot to return it to us by noon on Election Day. We want to count all these ballots we've prepared and mailed!”
Some who have already requested and received ballots have expressed surprise at the amount of paperwork received. Don't panic – the instructions are simple to follow. You won't mark the ballot directly, but refer to it for the appropriate line to mark on a scan card. When completed, the card goes in a privacy slip and then into a postage-paid envelope.
It's been an unusually quiet primary election season as a result of shelter-at-home orders. You can find candidate questionnaires at VOTE411.org, a website created by the nonpartisan League of Women Voters. VOTE411.org is an excellent tool to research options.
You can read our editorial board's endorsements at journalgazette.net/Opinion/Endorsements.
Opportunities to vote early in person are limited this year. You can vote in person at the Grand Wayne Center next Tuesday through Friday and on May 30 and June 1. At the 25 polling locations open June 2 (down from the usual 116), voters will be provided a glove to use while voting. Dlug said poll workers are still needed for Election Day. Those interested should contact Republican or Democratic headquarters.
Vote by mail is the best option all around. If you haven't requested a ballot yet, do it before midnight Thursday. Your vote counts.
Step by step
To request a primary election ballot, go to indianavoters.in.gov/MVPHome/PrintDocuments
Click on the Visit My Voter Portal
Next screen: Enter your information and click on submit
Next screen: Verify the information is correct and click on continue
Next screen: On the left hand side, at the bottom of the column, there will be a drop-down box that says Absentee Voting
Click on that to reveal the Vote By Mail line
Click on Vote By Mail
Complete the Application for Absentee Ballot by Mail Only
Click on Submit Application.
Registered voters can also pick up a ballot today or Thursday at the Allen County Election Board office in the Rousseau Centre, 1 E. Main St.