Vigo County election officials work to ensure voting safety during COVID-19 outbreak


TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Vigo County election officials are working to ensure a safe and effective primary election.

Friday, alongside other state leaders Governor Eric Holcomb announced that Indiana’s May 5th primary election would be postponed until June 2nd.

This makes the state the 7th to do so because of COVID-19.

“I think it was responsible. I think he did a very responsible thing, we’ve got to protect each other,” said Brad Newman, Vigo County Clerk.

The election date isn’t the change that Vigo County voters could see as the primary comes closer.

Newman says the Vigo County election board is considering increasing spacing at the polls, stylus will be used versus touching voting machines, and additional sanitary supplies have been ordered.

“Everything from the time you get there until the time you walk out, we’re evaluating every process,” Newman said.

Newman says the Vigo County election board is also looking to protect its poll workers, many of whom he says are in the most vulnerable category for COVID-19.

So far, some workers have backed out of the upcoming election and have been replaced, and Newman says measures like creating smaller groups for election training will be in place.

“We don’t want to expose them, we don’t want to put them at risk. Some of these people are like our family, they’ve been doing these elections long before i ever got in office,” Newman said.

Election officials say as they move forward they will turn to the state to make sure all election requirements and deadlines are met.

“Elections can be complicated and they’re a lot of moving parts. The security and safety of the voters of the election are our priority and we’ll make sure we do it right,” said Ryan Shillito, election consultant.

Newman says voters are also allowed to mail-in ballots if they decide to not go to the polls.

The election board is working to find out more on final deadlines and dates for that process.

Newman also says any changes that may occur with the locations of polling centers will be filed with the state.

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