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.
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.
At a Friday noon meeting, Indiana’s four-member state election commission adopted an order that says in-person voting will take place on Election Day, June 2.
Early in-person voting will be held May 26 through June 1.
The possibility of a vote-by-mail election, which had some advocates across the state—as a way to ensure safety for voters in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic—now appears dim, if not extinguished.
But no-excuse absentee voting, which allows voting by mail, is an option for this year’s primary.
The possibility of a vote-by-mail election, with virtually no in-person voting, was on the agenda for a previously scheduled meeting of the election commission, set for April 22 under its March 25 order. That meeting is still scheduled as a part of the election board’s order approved on Friday.
Based on the light partisan skirmishing at Friday’s election commission meeting, any consideration of a vote-by-mail election on April 22 is likely to be ceremonial, unless the current slight trend, towards flattening of COVID-19 numbers, reverses.
The COVID-19 pandemic means voting by mail is the safest option for casting a ballot in the June 2 primary, some elected officials are saying. Democratic Party leaders are pushing the vote-by-mail option in the upcoming primary.
They’re calling on Indiana’s governor, Eric Holcomb, and the state’s election commission, to order that applications for ballots to be sent to all registered voters.
Holcomb has encouraged voters to use the no-excuse absentee voter option that was created for this year’s primary by the state’s election commission, at a March 25 special meeting.
Even under the no-excuse absentee option, voters have to request that they receive a ballot through an application process. The application form is available online for downloading, but that doesn’t make it accessible to all voters.
On Thursday last week, at his daily press briefing, Holcomb was asked if he would go as far as to support a complete vote-by-mail election structure. That could include sending all registered voters an application for 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.