Defiance County’s top two election officials say there will be in-person voting in November.
Board of Elections Director Tonya Wichman and Deputy Director Kim Smith spoke with county commissioners about the matter during commissioners’ regular meeting Monday.
In a question posed by Commissioner Ryan Mack about the plan to hold in-person voting on Nov. 3, Smith said “yes ... there will be” while Wichman said, “We have been informed there will be in-person voting.”
Smith also noted that the state — unlike what happened during the postponed March 15 primary — cannot change the Nov. 3 election date as it is set by federal law.
“I am not as concerned about the date as I am about in-person,” commented Commissioner Mick Pocratsky.
Early in-person voting will begin on Oct. 6 at the county’s board of elections office at 1300 E. Second St. (the Defiance County East building) in Defiance.
“We are anticipating more interest in early voting,” said Smith who recommended that voters who want to cast their ballots early do so “over those first couple of weeks. They tend to be slower versus that last week.”
Hours for early voting:
• 8 a.m.-5 p.m. from Oct. 6-9 and Oct. 12-16.
• 8 a.m.-6 p.m. from Oct. 19-23.
• 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24, and Saturday, Oct. 31.
• 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 25, and Sunday, Nov. 1.
• 8 a.m.-7 p.m. from Oct. 26-30.
• 8 a.m.- 2 p.m. on Nov. 2.
As far as voting protocol to comply with coronavirus-related measures, Smith said voters who vote early will be asked to wear a mask while six-foot social distancing will be observed.
Curbside voting also will be available, in which a bipartisan team will present voters with a paper ballot to mark their choices. Parking spaces will be reserved outside the board of elections office for this purpose with voters encouraged to phone the board of elections beforehand to make this request.
While early voting is on its way, elections officials continue to process a higher-than-normal number of absentee ballot requests. To receive an absentee ballot in the mail, voters must return an application to the board of elections with specified information to help establish identification.
After these are checked and verified, the boards of elections will send the voter an absentee ballot. These can be returned in the U.S. mail or dropped off at the board of elections beginning Oct. 6, either in-person or a drop box outside the 1300 E. Second St. office.
As of Monday morning, Defiance County’s board of elections office had received more than 3,100 applications for absentee ballots, according to officials.
Such ballots will be the first to be counted after the polls close (at 7:30 p.m.) on Nov. 3, they noted.
Voters can track the progress of their absentee ballot request by calling the board of elections (419-782-2906 or 419-782-8543) or visiting the office’s website (www.defiance.boe.ohio.gov) and clicking on the “election information” link. Under “voting by mail,” voters can then access the application status through the “track the status” link.
Also Monday, elections officials proposed the possibility of applying for grant funds — made available nationally through the Center for Tech and Civil Life, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization, thanks to a $250 million donation by Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook co-founders) — to help administer elections.
Pocratsky, for one, expressed some hesitancy about the grants, and wants first to know how the money would be used.
In other business Monday, commissioners:
• noted in a news release about the meeting that they have received information from Maumee Valley Planning Organization concerning coronavirus-related grant opportunities for public services and facilities. Day care centers, domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, libraries, public schools, disaster shelters, fire stations, hospitals, nursing homes and senior centers may qualify, according to commissioners.
• met with Engineer Warren Schlatter for his weekly update. He noted that the approach for a new bridge on Harris Road will be poured soon followed by paving. He also reported that county landfill sales in August totaled $413,958.55 from 49,628 cubic yards of waste.