Record number of absentee ballots cast lowers early in-person voting

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FORT WAYNE, Ind, (WANE) – Early in-person primary voting is up and running in Allen County. It started Tuesday and runs through Monday, June 1 at the Grand Wayne Convention center.

It’s pacing slower than usual this year with voters only trickling in throughout the day. Allen County Director of Elections Beth Dlug said this is because so many people have already voted by mail-in absentee ballot.

“We’ve had over 38,000 mail ballots and we only had 3,000 in the last presidential primary,” she explained. “It’s a tremendous response for mail ballots. So we don’t expect early voting to be as big as it usually is, but we do anticipate several thousand people to vote.”

Dlug is predicting only about 5,000 people will vote early in person as compared to several years ago where it was tens of thousands.

For those that are coming in to vote, they should feel safe. The election board staff is using face masks, face shields, gloves, and plexi-glass barriers to maintain safety. Voting stations are cleaned regularly and voters are given gloves upon entering.

They also chose the Grand Wayne Center as the sole early voting location because it’s spaciousness helps with social distancing.

“I made the conscious decision that I was going to come down and vote in person, knowing that I would do my best to follow the protocols,” said voter Rob Long. “When I arrived here, I was very pleasantly surprised that the election board chose a very large space where they could practice social distancing without too much problem and they had other precautions such as the handing out of gloves. So I felt they had it well protected, the whole process.”

For election day next Tuesday, June 2, the board has consolidated the 116 polling locations down to just 25. Dlug said people’s voting locations are likely to change from past years because of the consolidation.

Because of the huge amount of mail-in absentee ballots, they’ll need extra time to count votes. They expect to release results on Wednesday, June 3 or Thursday, June 4.

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