Monroe County girds for in-person, mailed-in ballots alike, as registration deadline looms

A voter registration deadline of Monday, Oct. 5  is looming, and four weeks of early voting are set to start the following day at 8 a.m. The only location for early voting is Election Central, at the corner of Madison and 7th streets in downtown Bloomington.

A copy of a mailer that was sent to all registered voter households in Monroe County for the Nov. 3, 2020 election.

So Monroe County’s election board met last Tuesday afternoon to review any outstanding issues related to this year’s general election. The Nov. 3 general election will take place as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rack up about 1,110 confirmed positive tests a day statewide and about two dozen a day in Monroe County.

Tuesday’s discussion took place the same day as a ruling by federal district judge Sarah Barker, but before it was widely reported. Barker’s ruling granted a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of an Indiana election law on mailed-in ballots.

The law says mailed-in ballots have to be received by noon on Election Day, and they’ll be rejected after that, no matter when they’re postmarked. The injunction—which has been appealed—says that Indiana election officials are “not to reject mail-in ballots postmarked on or before November 3, 2020 and received on or before November 13, 2020.”

If that ruling stands, it’s not clear how it might impact local election planning.

A concern about adequate space was one theme of last Tuesday’s meeting, as the local election board is looking towards larger numbers of in-person and mailed-in votes alike.

The newly renovated Election Central facility in the old Johnson Hardware building, at Madison and 7th streets, has a lot more room for early voting than the previous configuration.

Still, four pallets worth of COVID-19-related personal protection equipment (PPE), which arrived from the secretary of state’s office, and the elbow room needed to ship out 11,100 absentee ballots so far, mean that Election Central is a little cramped for space. Continue reading “Monroe County girds for in-person, mailed-in ballots alike, as registration deadline looms”