Tippecanoe County navigating early voting amid pandemic

Social distancing guidelines are tough to follow when it comes to early voting. That's causing some popular locations to drop out.

Posted: Sep 1, 2020 4:15 PM
Updated: Sep 2, 2020 11:07 AM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind (WLFI) - St. Thomas Aquinas Center is one of the only early voting centers in close proximity to Purdue University.

The lone voting center is a good example of how the pandemic is affecting early voting for the general election.

Ken Jones, voter services chair for the League of Women Voters, says social distancing guidelines are tough to follow when it comes to early voting. That's causing some popular locations, including Pay Less grocery stores and several assisted living facilities, to drop out. Several locations on Purdue's campus are also up in the air.

"Losing Pay Less and losing the Purdue locations just changes the game for thousands and thousands of voters," Jones says. 

Tippecanoe County Board of Elections staff member Germany Harris says the board is planning 450 early voting hours to counteract the lower number of locations.

"Many voters feel that this is an important election, so that could drive the numbers up. My speculation is we'll see maybe an increase in that number for turnout," Harris says. 

The Board of Elections is working with Purdue to expand the number of on-campus locations. A Purdue spokesperson wasn't available to comment.

"They're still trying to navigate their way through the pandemic with students returning to school. We've been respectful of their process, we're just kind of waiting for what they want to do," Harris says. 

Indiana has also not expanded absentee voting for the general election, which could be a recipe for busy early voting centers. Early voting begins Oct. 6.

"We're not gonna get quite the pressure relief valve of absentee voting on physical sites," Harris says. 

Below is a full list of early voting sites and hours:

  • Tippecanoe County Office Building
    • Tuesday, 10/6 to Friday 10/30 Monday - Friday 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
    • Saturday 10/24 & 10/31 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
    • CLOSED SUNDAYS
  • River City Community Center
    • Monday 10/19 to Friday 10/30 NOON - 7:00 PM
    • Saturday 10/31 NOON - 7:00 PM
    • CLOSED SUNDAYS
  • Northview Church
    • Monday 10/19 to Friday 10/30 NOON - 7:00 PM
    • Saturday 10/31 NOON - 7:00 PM
    • CLOSED SUNDAYS
  • Northend Community Center
    • Monday 10/19 to Friday 10/30 NOON - 7:00 PM
    • Saturday 10/31 NOON - 7:00 PM
    • CLOSED SUNDAYS
  • Eastside Assembly of God
    • Monday 10/19 to Friday 10/30 NOON - 7:00 PM
    • Saturday 10/31 NOON - 7:00 PM
    • CLOSED SUNDAYS
  • West Point Volunteer Fire Department
    • Saturday, Oct 24, 2020 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Fellure Foods
    • Saturday, Oct 24, 2020 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Stockwell United Methodist Church
    • Saturday, Oct 24, 2020 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Faith West Community Ctr.
    • Saturday, Oct 17, 2020 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
  • St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church
    • Saturday, Oct 17, 2020 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM

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