Secretary of state Connie Lawson said on Friday that the state received the personal protection equipment (PPE) that it had ordered for election workers, using $7.5 million of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding.
National Guard troops had started delivering masks, sanitizer, gloves and microfiber towels to all 92 counties the previous day, and were continuing deliveries “as I speak,” Lawson said.
Lawson said that her office had tapped Indiana sources of PPE who did not supply PPE to medical providers—to make sure her office was not depriving health care workers of needed equipment. Lawson made her remarks during Indiana governor Eric Holcomb’s regular press conference on Friday.
Screen grab of May 7, 2020 meeting of the Monroe County election board.
A mass mailing to every voter in Monroe County was due to go out at the end of this past week. That means sometime next week all voters should receive an absentee ballot application for the June 2 primary.
The mailing will also include a list of the seven polling locations that will be used for in-person voting.
Voting will be conducted during the COVID-19 public health emergency, which has been extended by Indiana’s governor Eric Holcomb.
Election staffer Sherry Morris and election board chair Hal Turner.
On Tuesday at noon, at the the fourth continuation of a meeting that was initially convened on April 2, Monroe County’s election board approved the use of seven in-person polling sites for the June 2 primary election.
At Tuesday’s meeting, one of the sites was still not nailed down with 100-percent certainty.
Initial indications were positive from the City Church for All Nations that the facility could be used for the election, but final word was still pending, according to election supervisor Karen Wheeler. The church is the backup plan to University Elementary School, which has a construction project precluding its use. [Updated April 29, 2020 at 3:17 p.m. Election board member Carolyn VandeWiele told The Square Beacon that the church has agreed to allow its facility to be used for the June 2 primary.]
Monroe County’s election board is preparing for the upcoming June 2 primary election by promoting the no-excuse absentee voting option that the state’s election commission has enacted just for this year’s primary.
The June 2 date is a postponement from the originally scheduled May 5 primary. Postponement of the election and no-excuse absentee voting are measures meant to help make the election safer for the voters and election workers.
Voting absentee takes a couple of steps, the first of which is for a voter to submit an application form to request a ballot.
Paul Okeson, chair of Indiana’s election commission, presides over the commission’s March 25, 2020 meeting, which was held by videoconference. (Screen grab from Zoom.)
Indiana’s four-member election commission met Wednesday morning to consider an order related to the state’s primary election, originally scheduled for May 5, but postponed to June 2 by governor Eric Holcomb’s order last week.
The postponement was made because of the COVID-19 pandemic that is spreading across the world, including the state of Indiana. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Indiana has nearly doubled (increases by 1.8 times) in two days, from 259 on March 23 to 477 on March 25. The number of tests during that same period has increased by a similar amount, from from 1,960 on March 23 to 3,356 on March 25. COVID-19 has killed at least 14 people in the state, according to the state’s health department.
At their meeting last Thursday, Monroe County’s election officials reviewed the precautions they had in place, before any cases had been reported. After the report of the first two cases, officials told The Square Beacon they’re sticking to those precautions, which are based on guidelines for polling stations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
The CDC’s guidelines include actions that can be taken before Election Day, like encouraging mail-in and early-voting options. Voting early, even if in person, reduces the size of gatherings, compared to a scenario where everyone votes on Election Day.
In the familiar, predictable category are incumbents for the four countywide offices that handle different statutory functions, all Democrats. Auditor Cathy Smith, treasurer Jessica McClellan, coroner Joani Shields, and surveyor Trohn Enright-Randolph were the only people to declare candidacy for their respective offices.