VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - We are two weeks away from the Indiana Primary Election Day. The Vigo County Clerk’s office has been preparing for an election unlike any other due to COVID-19. They held a press conference Tuesday morning detailing their plans.
Vigo County Clerk Brad Newman said during that press conference they’ve been planning for weeks. Two weeks ago, the Vigo County Election Board and Clerk’s Office voted to approve and amend protocols for the 2020 primary.
“We were trying to think out of the box,” Newman said, “How do we do this a little bit better than the other counties in Indiana? How do we entice the voters and give them the peace of mind that it’s safe?”
Newman says this is to ensure the safety of all Vigo County voters, enhance sanitation, distance, and the overall efficiency of the voting process.
The Clerk’s Office has partnered with Servpro. Servpro will fog and sanitize the Vigo County courthouse every week for an added level of safety.
There will be 2 Servpro employees at every voting center on Election Day at no cost to the taxpayer. These employees will be sanitizing and sterilizing all voting equipment, doors, tables, and chairs.
They will continually be cleaning the voting area the entire time polls are open and wearing the proper PPE. Newman says this is essential so that voters know they will be safe voting in person.
“Servpro is jumping in and helping us out as far as keeping everything clean,” Newman said, “We are going to reiterate the fact that we are going to be cleaning in real-time. We will maintain social distancing in real-time as we move the process forward. It’s a production we’ve been working on and I think we have everything down pat.”
Chad Overton of Servpro says they will use EPA registered disinfectants to wipe areas down.
“We encourage you to come out and use your right to vote,” Overton said, “This is an important time in our lives and our history and we all need to stick together and thank the forethought of the Vigo County Clerk’s Office for absolutely thinking outside the box and protecting all of Vigo County citizens.”
Newman also talked about what you can expect come Election Day in Vigo County.
This includes using bigger facilities, or “supercenters”, like Terre Haute North and South’s Gyms and the Meadows Banquet Center. He says these will allow for 15 to 20 voting machines to be properly socially distanced, and he doesn’t anticipate any delays.
“I think the entire process shouldn’t take but a few minutes,” Newman continued, “If anything the supercenters will actually enhance the process and speed it up due to the mass size of the machines and people working.”
Newman says they expect 45 to 55% of voters to still vote in person. He says every voter should have the peace of mind that all their voting centers will be completely safe.
“This will probably be the most sterile environment you’ve ever voted in and hopefully we maintain that for the future,” Newman concluded, “I think we’ve learned some things. You always look at negatives and COVID-19 is definitely a negative, but we are trying to find positives to take good things away from it. It’s going to help the voting process in the future.”
Be sure to call the Clerk’s Office if you want to fill out an absentee ballot. Applications are due by May 21st. Standard voting centers will be open May 26th through June 2nd.