Yesterday (Monday) afternoon, despite the rain, 148 people came into the Washington County Clerk’s office to vote early in the 2020 General Election.
According to Clerk Stephanie Rockey, only 39 people voted early on Oct. 19, 2018, and even on Oct. 19, 2016 – during a Presidential election – only 52 people voted early.
Faced with a pandemic, social media conspiracy theories and another Presidential election, voters are turning out in droves to make sure their vote counts.
She said 2,315 returned ballots have been processed Monday, Oct. 19 (out of 19,436 registered voters) with 14 days left until Election Day.
That’s 11.91 percent of the county has already cast a ballot.
“We’ve been way up,” said Rockey, during a call-in interview on WSLM’s Coffee Club Tuesday morning. “I’m excited. It’s a bit chaotic. I’m competitive and I like numbers. I’m glad people are exercising their right to vote. It will be interesting to see what the numbers will be. I’ve had to order more ballots!”
She that included mail-in, walk-in early votes, and email ballots from the military and those overseas.
Rockey said at the end of election day 2016, there had been 2,219 absentee ballots cast.
“We still have a couple of weeks to go,” said Rockey. “We still have until Noon on Nov. 2 for walk-ins and noon on Election Day to receive ballots by mail.”
Rockey said the public has had a lot of concerns.
“A lot of people are coming in expressing their concerns,” she said. “It’s not a new process. It’s no different. But now it’s overlayed with the anxiety of a pandemic and a lot of misinformation.”
Social media has people worked up over the possibility of mail-in votes not being counted or being lost among other issues.
“We had a major rush all across the State of Indiana with people who requested a ballot by mail, received it and because of false information, thought it wouldn’t be counted,” said Rockey. “They wanted to surrender the ballots and come in and vote. That’s against the law in Indiana.”
Rockey said voters could not surrender a perfectly good ballot before election day unless it was lost, defective or spoiled.
“Some voters figured out the loophole and would spoil it and then bring it to us,” she said. “If everyone who got an absentee ballot did that, it would cost Washington County a little over $21,000.”
Rockey takes the job seriously and said she works overtime trying to ensure the integrity of the election results.
“We have so many checks and balances…it’s almost like Fort Knox,” said Rockey.
Recently all voting machines and ballots were certified during a public test.
She said absentee ballots will be counted and results will be reported closely with in-person votes on Nov. 3.
“I will not leave here until all the results are in the state system,” she said.
As in the spring primary, the public will not be allowed at the justice center to hear election results.
To accommodate that, WSLM will again be present to receive the real-time votes tabulated by precinct to report live on WSLM 1220 AM and WSLM 97.9 FM as well as social media.
In-depth reporting of results will be available later on wslmradio.com and reported on Wednesday, Nov. 4.
For all in-person voting – whether early or on Election Day, Rockey said the election process was adhering to the CDC guidelines for Covid-19.
“We have all the PPE in place and will be cleaning machines between voters,” she said.
Rockey said early voters will come in the main entrance to the Justice Center, get their temperatures taken, be asked a couple of questions and then directed to the Election and Voter Services Office.
“There’s not a long wait,” she said. “Masks are required. We do honor the governor’s mandate. We are trying to keep everyone safe. We are attached to the jail and we have a population there to be concerned with. Also the courts. We have to stay safe as much as possible to keep it all going.”
Early Voting Times
October 20th – October 30th
- 8am – 4pm, closed 12-1 for lunch.
Saturdays, October 24th and 31st
- 8am – 3pm, Not closed for lunch
Monday, November 2nd
Nov. 3 Voting Locations
Some polling locations have merged to help with the effects of the pandemic.
- Salem 1-4: Salem Armory, 1100 N Shelby Street, Salem
- Washington 1-4: Washington County Fairgrounds, 118 N. Fair Street, Salem
- Brown & Vernon: Community Building, 125 S. Sycamore Street, Campbellsburg
- Franklin: Franklin Twp. Firehouse, 7047 E. SR 160, Salem
- Gibson: Gibson Twp. Firehouse, 571 N. State Road 39, Little York
- Howard: Howard Twp. Firehouse, 5279 S. Becks Mill Road, Salem
- Jackson: Jackson Twp. Firehouse, 4330 E. Martinsburg Fire Road, Pekin
- Jefferson & Monroe: Monroe Twp. Firehouse, 8496 N. State Road 135, Vallonia
- Madison: Madison Twp. Firehouse 130 Church Street, Campbellsburg
- Pierce & Polk: Pekin Park Community Bldg, 340 S. Park Street, Pekin
- Posey: Fellowship Baptist Mission Center (formally Bearcat Civic Center) 9271 W. US Hwy 150, Hardinsburg