TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTH) - The state of Indiana has made a decision on absentee voting for this November. The Indiana State Election Commission declined to expand voting by mail for the general election. News 10 caught up with a Wabash Valley election clerk to get their reaction.
Indiana is one of only eight states to hold steady on this and not accept COVID-19 fear as a reason to vote absentee. For the primary back in May, Hoosiers could get an absentee ballot for essentially any reason. This is now officially not the case.
Greene County Clerk Stuart Dowden says although just now official, this was to be expected. The state of Indiana lifted restrictions for the primary but said a decision for the general election would come later. In the primary, anyone could request a mail-in ballot without a specific reason.
Dowden says they saw more absentee requests for the primary than they ever have. He knows there’s a lot of fear out there surrounding the virus, but he ensures there are many ways that you can still make your voice heard safely.
“I know it’s very concerning for people at this time, but I think there’s several different options for people,” Dowden said, “ So if they’re uncomfortable with one way then maybe there’s another way they can do it.”
Dowden explained those different ways to vote safely amid Indiana’s latest decision.
He says both Greene County and the state of Indiana have taken the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of all voters.
To be clear, you can still vote absentee, but you just need another reason other than fear of COVID-19. Greene County will also have what’s called In-House Absentee Voting on October 6th. Voters can come to the clerks office and vote in a safe, less crowded environment.
They will also have early voting for two Saturdays before Election Day that you can vote remotely. Dowden says voter safety is their top priority, and he believes they will still see a lot of people on Election Day.
“We are taking precautions and doing what we can to keep people safe, but help them get out and vote, because this truly is a pivotal election,” Dowden concluded, “Regardless, I think we’re going to have a high turnout because it’s a presidential election.”
Dowden says he understands people’s concerns, but he says both Greene County and the state of Indiana are committed to providing the safest possible voting environment.