Absentee ballots facing lower-than-expected early retuns in lake area

Lake Sun Leader

With the August ballot less than a week away, lake area county Clerks are reporting less-than-expected absentee voting early on.

In Camden County, Clerk Rowland Todd says they have received around 600 absentee ballots through the mail with another 200 in-person. He says they have sent out more than 1,000. The county is conservatively estimated around 40% voter turnout for the August ballot. There are over 30,000 registered voters in Camden County.

Todd says this election has been difficult for the county, especially when it comes to finding judges. He says many of their normal judges have relayed concerns about safety issues at voting locations and feel the need to stay home. Even so, he says they will provide a safe environment at polling locations with hand sanitizer and will ask for voters to wear masks.

Miller County Clerk Clinton Jenkins says they have sent out 310 absentee ballots and have received 250. This is also lower than he had expected at this point. The county has 17,602 registered voters.

Jenkins says they are hoping to get around 50% voter turnout, though he says they won’t be surprised if COVID fears bring out much less. They will be hosting curb-side voting to help ease fears of in-person contact.

Finally, in Morgan County, deputy Clerk Kristie Davis says they have only sent out around 100 absentee ballots and have received most of them back already. This is much lower than expected.

In 2016, 37% voted in the August elections. The clerk’s office is expecting and hoping for a 40% voter turnout. They hope the ballot issues of both an important vote on a constitutional amendment and commissioner races on both the eastern and western side of the county will bring residents out. 12379 voters are registered to vote in Morgan County.

All three clerks, however, are expecting large turnouts in November, COVID concerns or not. With all counties seeing between 60-80% turnouts in 2016, this presidential election is expected to do just as well. Even with concerns of the virus possibly lingering in the coming months, the clerks all relayed their trust in a high turnout.