Lake area election officials are preparing for an anticipated spike in absentee voting for the Aug. 4 Primary.

Lake area election officials  are preparing for an anticipated spike in absentee voting for the Aug. 4 Primary. 

Absentee voting for the Aug. 4 primary opened on Tuesday and will continue through election day. The rules on who can cast an absentee ballot have been relaxed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, giving more voters the opportunity to case a ballot without visiting a polling place. 

The Aug. 4 is the run-off election for the November general election. Since 2020 is a presidential election  year, voter turnout will be heavier than other elections. That added to the changes in absentee voting, could mean a significant number of voters will make the switch from in-person voting to absentee ballots.  Camden County Clerk Rowland Todd said the provisions are being made for voters who do not want to go to the polls. 

"We now have 'mail-in' absentees and 'absentee' ballots.  The mail-in is for anyone who wants to vote before election day but their signature on the envelope has to be notarized before it is mailed back to us.  The 'Absentee' has qualifications that, if met, the notary requirement is waived," Todd said.   Under a new law, people considered at-risk of the coronavirus — those age 65 and older, living in a long-term care facility or with certain existing health problems — can vote absentee without needing to have their ballot notarized this year. Anyone else can cast a mail-in ballot but would need to get it notarized.

An executive order allows virtual notarization through the August primary. For anyone who is not registered but wants to vote in the August Primary, the deadline for voter registration is July 8.  Voters will be casting ballots for national, state and local races on Aug. 4.