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Tippecanoe County Election Board adopting new strategies amid COVID-19 pandemic

As election season approaches the Tippecanoe County Election Board is adopting new strategies. News 18 spoke with the Election Board Chairman about the impact COVID-19 could have on election season.

Posted: Apr 30, 2020 4:43 PM
Updated: Apr 30, 2020 6:19 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI)—"This is new for the election board and the Indiana Election Division," said Randy Vonderheide.

Vonderheide is the Tippecanoe County Election Board Chairman. He said the board is preparing for an increase in absentee ballots this election season.

"We expect a much higher than normal volume," said Vonderheide. "The estimation anywhere 75,00 and 10,000 absentee ballots."

Vonderheide said to date the board has already received more than 2,000 absentee ballot request. That's compared to the 2016 election season where only 500 request were submitted.

"We're going to need to start earlier and have many more people working just because of the scanning limitations of the scanning equipment," said Vonderheide. 

That's why the board approved to start processing and counting absentee ballots at 6 AM on election day.

They have also expanded their team on top of the several returning poll workers and allowing 16 & 17 year olds to help by applying to be an election officer. Something the board has offered every year.

"I am very pleased to report we are not having trouble," said Vonderheide. "Regular poll workers that we've had for years by large almost all of them are indicating that they are going to work for the public again this year."

As far as voting locations, Vonderheide said that's a moving target. As of now Payless and Purdue University are not on the current list of 14 voting locations.

"Our March 9th meeting we locked in our early voting and vote centers and after COVID-19 that has had to change," said Vonderheide.

Vonderheide goes on to say the Indiana Election Division also limited early voting to just one week instead of two.

"We're also concerned as an election board about the safety of our poll workers," said Vonderheide. "So we've made every effort to assure that safety."

Vonderheide said the secretary of state is also working with the county to provide PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) for poll workers. He said people interested in a absentee ballot should submit an application by midnight of May 19th.

For information on voting locations, absentee application and more click here. 

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