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Election board finalizes ballots

BY Lucas Robinson - lrobinson@chronicle-tribune.com

Election day is getting closer for the Grant County Election Board.

Members of the board met at the country courthouse Wednesday to prepare ballots that will be made available to voters in the coming weeks. In order to ensure the integrity of the ballots, officials spent the afternoon spell-checking the names on every ballot in the county. Ballots were checked for mistakes four times by the office staff before being checked again by the board.

“We’ve all checked them here,” said Carolyn Mowery, clerk of the election board. “Now the board needs to sign off on them.”

Amongst the ballots are both those for absentee voters as well as those for the voting machines. The board has until March 24 to mail out all absentee ballots to those in the county who will not be able to vote in person.

Voter registration ends April 9, making April 10 the first eligible day for voters to cast those absentee ballots.

In attendance at the meeting was Mowery and Election Deputy Kathy Foy. Representing the Democratic and Republican parties were county chairs Terry Stodghill and Darren Reese. Also present was Barbara Stodghill, president of the Grant County Woman’s Club, who was sworn in as an election board member at the meeting.

“We need to work together. We’re all in agreement on that,” Barbara Stodghill said.

Reese too emphasized the collobaration between the two parties, assuring citizens the board was “working together at the highest level of the parties.”

“Trying to get people excited about this year’s election and primary is very important,” he said.

Going forward, the election board will preside over the management of the county’s upcoming election. Much of that work involves raising awareness among the public about voting opportunities. Part of the effort will involve hosting Gov. Eric Holcomb during his visit to Grant County on March 22, as well as an upcoming fundraiser with the Indiana State Auditor Tera Klutz.

Allowing heated local political races to unfold independently is another goal of the board, according to Reese.

“We’re kind of making sure the local candidates have opportunities to do their own thing, and not get in the way of what those races are,” he said.

After the primaries, board members will be headed to their respective party’s state convention, where nominees will be finalized and strategies for the general formed.

On the Republican side, Reese said the GOP will be watchful of primary turnout in order to see if a “Trump effect” is hurting the party’s infrastructure.

Voters will have until April 30 to request an absentee ballot by mail. The deadline for absentee ballots will be noon, May 7, the day before the Indiana primary on May 8.