Early voting changes in store for primary

VERNON — Major changes to early voting hours have been approved for the upcoming city election primary.

The Jennings County Election Board voted Wednesday to change walk-in early voting availability to only three days prior to the May 7 primary.

Voters will be able to cast walk-in votes at the Jennings County Elections Office in the county courthouse only on April 12 or 27, or May 4. Voting hours will be 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Previously, voters could walk in to the elections office and vote Monday through Friday every day during the 30 days prior to the election.

Jennings County Clerk Amy Thompson said the hours for walk-in early voting are being changed for the City Elections because “the county has been spending a fortune during elections when there was only a small voter turnout.”

Walk-in early voting falls under the authority of the Jennings County Election Absentee Board rules and procedures, and by law a representative from each political party must to be present during all early voting times, Thompson said.

“That means you have to pay both a Democrat and a Republican each $28 per hour to be in the office every hour while early voting is taking place. That quickly adds up to a lot of money,” Thompson said.

However, additional early voting hours will be added during 2020, a presidential election year, when a larger amount of people are expected to vote, Thompson said.

Absentee mail-in voting procedures will follow the same procedures as in previous elections, she added. Mail-in ballots may be requested at the county election office starting April 9. Applications for absentee ballots must be received in the office by April 29. The ballots will be mailed to the voter within 24 hours of the request. Completed absentee ballots must be received at the clerk’s office by noon May 6.

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For additional information about early voting changes, or the primary election, voters may call election deputy Brenda King at 812-352-3080.