Absentee voting: A hint of high turnout?With the primary election less than a week away, absentee ballots are starting to come in fast and furious.
By: Celeste Beam, Alexandria Echo Press
With the primary election less than a week away, absentee ballots are starting to come in fast and furious.
“It has really started to pick up,” said Vicki Doehling, Douglas County elections administrator.
Absentee voting officially began on June 25, but Douglas County has been receiving ballots since June 10, Doehling noted.
In June, there were 13 absentee ballots issued. In July, the number of absentee ballots multiplied more than tenfold – there were 142 ballots issued.
So far in August, there were 15 absentee ballots issued.
During the last governor election, which took place in 2006, Doehling said there was a total of 285 absentee ballots accepted. She said that 3.92 percent of people who voted in the 2006 election voted by absentee ballot.
This year, the number has seen a significant increase.
Because the primary election is next week – Tuesday, August 10 – the Douglas County Courthouse has extended hours for absentee voting. It will be open for absentee voting this Saturday, August 7 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Monday, August 9, the courthouse will be open for absentee voting until 5 p.m. – a half hour later than normal.
Doehling wants to remind voters that in the primary, you can’t cross party lines – voters need to vote for one party.
“This is a common mistake we see often during the primary election,” she said.
Voters who need assistance when casting their ballot can use AutoMARK, a touch screen computerized voting machine.
Doehling said that when voters use the machine, they are asked which party they are – Republican or Democratic – and then depending on the answer, the machine only shows candidates in that particular party and then correctly marks the ballot for the voter.
The computerized voting machine also has audio with it, which is also helpful, said Doehling.
If voters have questions about absentee voting, the primary election or the general election, they can call the Douglas County auditor/treasurer’s office at (320) 762-3077.