Voters took precautions as they turned out at the polls

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

Voters did go to vote in person at the polls on Tuesday. And they handled the sanitary precautions that were in place very well, according to County Clerk Amy Kippenbrock.

“I didn’t hear a lot of feedback about that. So no news is good news,” she said. “Plenty of PPE was provided to workers and voters. I think it went over as best as what everyone could expect, with what’s going on. It didn’t cause any delay or interference for the poll workers or the voters.”

The state delayed Primary Election Day by a month due to the coronavirus.

A total of 5,428 Dubois County residents voted in the primary; that is 18.17% of the 29,869 residents eligible to vote in Dubois County. “We had an 18% turnout, which is good for our primary,” Kippenbrock said. “That was what I would have expected to turn out with what was contested on our ballot.”

Of the total number of county residents who voted in the primary, 2,780 voted Tuesday and 883 cast a ballot in the in-person early voting that was held last week. A total of 1,765 people mailed in their ballot.

Kippenbrock noticed an increase in the number of mail-in ballots. “We had many more mail votes,” she said. “There was a much greater awareness of voting by mail this time. We did a lot of advertising and talking about the opportunity to vote by mail. A lot of people took advantage of that.”

That included nursing homes, Kippenbrock said. “In the past, a lot of our nursing home facilities would utilize the travel board,” she said. The travel board would go out to the facilities to bring and collect those residents’ ballots. But facilities are not allowing visitors like they used to, because of the coronavirus.

“All of those facilities took advantage of voting by mail, because of their own protocols,” Kippenbrock said. “We worked with those facilities to make sure they got what they needed in a timely fashion. So I think it worked really well.”

The main contested races locally were on the Democratic ballot. For county council at-large, Matt Brosmer, Mikayla Granados and Mike Kendall won the party nominations. Brosmer received 1,858 votes, 31.04 %; Kendall got 1,432 votes, 23.93%; and Granados earned 1,421 votes, 23.74%. Fourth contender Duncan Mathies received 1,274 votes, 21.29%.

For the U.S. Representative District 8 seat, E. Thomasina Marsili has been declared by several news organizations as the Democratic nominee. The Indiana Secretary of State’s website of election results has Marsili winning 36.6% of the vote, with Mike Webster receiving 33.6% and Ron Drake receiving 29.8%. But tallies and statistics have not been completed and finalized.

In Dubois County, Marsili received 855 votes, 37.01%; Drake garnered 750 votes, 32.47%, and Webster received 705 votes, 30.52%.

“Overall, it was about the same as normal,” Kippenbrock said about Primary Election Day. “We always have a few little things that come up.”

There were some internet issues at the Dubois location that caused a delay for a couple of voters trying to cast a ballot when the polling place opened at 6 a.m.

“We used the school’s Wi-Fi, and they had some filters on there,” Kippenbrock said, “some safeguards from the school that block out devices that shouldn’t be on their network. So our equipment was working at 6 a.m., like we wanted it to.”

The principal was able to fix the problem, she said.

There were some other small technical difficulties, but they were remedied immediately.

“Everyone that wanted to vote could get their vote in,” Kippenbrock said.

Some voters may have noticed that there were new faces working at their polling precinct.

“A lot of our poll workers in the county have been poll workers for a long time. Some of them felt like they didn’t want to work this process because maybe they were in the high-risk category for the virus,” Kippenbrock said. “So we recruited many new people. That may have presented a couple challenges, just in a learning curve from a poll worker standpoint. But I think overall, it was a great experience.”

Anyone who would be interested in being a poll worker in the future can call the clerk’s office at 812-481-7035.




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