Sullivan County clerk discusses successes, challenges seen during early voting

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SULLIVAN, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – As early voting continues across the country, a local clerk discusses some of the successes and challenges she has seen.

Sullivan County clerk Tonya Bedwell says as of Monday evening approximately 1,534 voters in the county have cast their ballots through in-person early voting.

“We’re up about a thousand to date on what we did in 2016,” Bedwell said.

Bedwell says she contributes the increase in early voting not only to the interest in the presidential election, but also some local county races.

“We have six county councilmen running for three positions so I think that makes a big difference,” Bedwell said.

The clerk also says voters wanting to avoid the polls on election day due to COVID-19 is also a factor.

In Sullivan County to ensure early voting is safe touchless temperature readings, cleaning by the company Paul Davis, and PPE are being utilized.

There are also new procedures on who can vote at the same time.

“We take one person back at a time if they’re not in the same household. If they’re in the same household we will take two back. That’s just ensuring social distancing,” Bedwell said.

Bedwell says while the check-in process has remained quick, the extra precautions can contribute to longer wait times.

“The time today was right under two hours one voter had to wait and I hated that because everyone’s time is valuable,” Bedwell said.

She also says some early voters have taken a little bit longer at the polls to ensure their votes are correct, and so far most of those who have had to wait have remained patient.

“The voters have been all understanding, most of them for that. I think they’re just really taking their time and make sure they’re voices are heard and accurate in the way they’re wanting to vote,” Bedwell said.

For early in-person voting there is one location available at the Sullivan County Courthouse. Bedwell says for election day the number of voting locations will increase to 15.

Voters can continue to cast their ballots early through November 2nd.

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