Local election board considers primary without in-person voting

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) Hoosiers face the prospect of a primary election without polling places.

The Indiana state election board will meet April 22 to decide whether in-person voting is in or out for the primary.

On Thursday, the St. Joseph County Election Board unanimously endorsed the idea of a primary based entirely on absentee voting with mail-in paper ballots.

“Again, at least voting by paper we stop the flow of people coming in," said St. Joseph County Clerk Rita Glenn. “What it boils down to is your vote does still count, but your safety comes first.”

The county currently uses touchscreen voting equipment with no surefire way to disinfect the screens between ballot casters.

The board today talked about buying styluses that could be disinfected or obtaining rubber finger covers that could be provided to each voter.

The board also made plans for a primary with polling places if that’s the way things turn out.

While original plans called for 120 vote centers, today that number was cut to ten.

Efforts will be made to make sure the ten vote centers are easily accessible to South Bend citizens who will decide the fate of a school funding referendum.

Even if state officials require polling places in the primary, St. Joseph County Election Board Chair Catherine Fanello said, “We must stress, vote by mail, please. Do not wait until Election Day. Number one, we have limited number of locations. Number two, we can’t even guarantee that the number of locations that we will set in place will even be open if workers do not show up.”

Rita Glenn described election workers as skittish.

Before voters can cast an absentee ballot, they must file an application to receive said ballot in the mail.

Click here to download a copy of the application form.