TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Early voting is underway in Vigo County. This year, a lot of voting is being done by absentee due to COVID-19.
News 10 spoke with Vigo County Clerk Brad Newman about the process involved with counting absentee ballots. It’s a lot more than you may think.
Newman says because of COVID-19, the Clerk’s Office is getting “a ton” of mail. Once they receive a mail-in ballot, they key it into their system and then check it against the voter registration list. This protects against someone being able to vote twice.
Newman says checks and balances are of the utmost importance. Staffers say that ballots are basically triple checked throughout their process. It’s also important to note that throughout almost every step in the ballot process, both a republican and democrat are present.
Once the ballots are fully processed, they are put in an envelope and secured until Election Day. Newman says this year will be extremely time-consuming given the circumstances.
“None of us have been through COVID-19 before and I don’t think anyone ever in the history of Vigo County has experienced this many mail-in ballots,” Newman said with a laugh, “Without a doubt, our office is diligent about keeping a list of where we’ve sent ballots, who we’ve sent them to, and we have all kinds of things in place knowing what’s going on.”
Newsman and other staffers say they’ve been swamped with absentee ballots since early voting began. Speaking of Early voting, Newman says it’s gone quite well.
A lot of effort has gone into ensuring the safety of all in-person voters due to COVID-19, and it seems to be paying off.
“The early voting—I’ve been pleasantly surprised,” Newman said, “I was blown away that we’ve had almost 600 people vote on the first day.”
Needless to say, Vigo County's early voting has gone well. Newman said for context, a neighboring county has 108,000 registered voters yet have only had 213 people vote. Vigo County has 70,000 registered voters and nearly 600 in-person votes thus far.
Newman says this is a testament to the people working these centers and Servpro for stepping in and ensuring they are clean and safe for all voters.
“People are getting back to business. People are getting back to living their lives. They’re just doing it in a little bit different way,” Newman concluded, “It’s the same for us. We are running an election in a little bit different way. We’ve never had super-voting centers. Everything is clean but we’ve never taken it to this extreme. So, things are going very well.”