VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - The General Election in November has generated a lot of buzz across the country as COVID-19 presents new challenges for election officials. The Vigo County Election Board met on Wednesday morning to discuss a gameplan this fall.
Vigo County Clerk Brad Newman says there was a lot of communication and the bouncing of ideas between the election board on Wednesday morning. COVID-19 has made for some seriously intensive planning looking ahead to the General Election this November.
Newman says the way they ran the primary election in the spring was a great trial run. They saw a lot of absentee voting, provided excellent cleaning at voting centers, and made it all work seamlessly.
The election board discussed a variety of plans on Wednesday centered around how many voting centers Vigo County needs. Newman says Vigo County was one of the first counties to go to different polling centers and not just provide smaller precincts.
He says they tossed around three plans: Plan A would be to have 16-17 voting centers in the county, Plan B would be to mimic what was done for the primary which residents are now used to, and Plan C would be a hybrid of both making voting as available as possible for everyone.
One thing he made clear is that these plans are fluid due to the constantly changing COVID-19 information they receive, but they will continue to give voters the peace of mind that they will be safe at the polls.
"One thing we've gotten recognition for all over the state, and now other states have called us too, is the in-real-time sanitation," Newman said, "We're set up that we are going to have the cleanest, safest environments to vote in in the state. We have really excelled with that."
A question a lot of you have been asking us at News 10 is how absentee voting will go this time around. Due to COVID-19, Indiana lifted restrictions so that anyone who wanted to vote absentee could. Newman also took the time to address that there is a possibility that this is not the case this time around.
Indiana is one of eight states that still has not announced if you can vote absentee without an excuse. Newman says they'll be prepared no matter what the decision is, but as aforementioned, plans are fluid with new information always coming out about COVID-19.
"If they go back to not having a reason to vote absentee and everything is wide open, that changes things," Newman explained, "Remember, 50% of the vote was absentee in the primary. I think you're going to see a record-breaking election in the fall no matter what."
He says they've set the standard for the cleanliness of voting centers across the state of Indiana. They want to give everyone the peace of mind that voting in person is safe and if the state lifts restrictions on absentee voting, the peace of mind that your vote will count.
"In the past in some other counties, there's been fraudulent activity," Newman said, "I can assure you we're not going to have fraudulent activity. We have checks, checks, and more checks, and as long as I'm the clerk, we're not going to do that. Either way, your vote is going to be secure."
Newman doesn't believe Indiana will lift restrictions on absentee voting for November. He says people are passionate about voting in-person in our area, and their goal is to always encourage people to come out and vote.
"I think it's setting a precedent. The election must go on with or without COVID and we still have to go about doing the election in the right way," Newman concluded, "We still have a majority of people in Vigo County that want to vote in person. We'll continue to do whatever we need to do to make the polls work. We're going to set the standard and example for the rest of the state."
Again, Newman says these plans are fluid, but they are prepared for every scenario no matter what's decided for November's General Election.