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Schools Still Used as Voting Sites During COVID-19

Those voting in person will have to head out to a polling center, and despite the county trying to find alternatives, five Vanderburgh County schools will still be used this election.

Posted: Sep 18, 2020 9:49 PM
Updated: Sep 18, 2020 10:02 PM

Election Day is inching closer.

In a year unlike any other, shrouded by Coronavirus fears, counties across the Tri-State are gearing up to send out an unprecedented number of absentee ballots.

"In 2016 approximately 5,700 people voted by absentee mail, we've already received well over 7,700 applications to vote-by-mail and we still have a month left to receive those applications," Vanderburgh County Clerk Carla Hayden said.

Those voting in person however, will have to head out to a polling center, and despite the county trying to find alternatives, five Vanderburgh County schools will still be used this election.

"Some that we had in churches were not considered accessible and the churches didn't want to take on the cost of renovation for twice a year so we ended up having to move back into the schools," Hayden said.

With concerns over students staying safe and healthy within the classroom, the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation has been working with the county to determine the best course of action.

"There's already some back and forth going on and for us we just want to ensure that it will be done in a manner that will maintain safety and security of all of our facilities," said Jason Woebkenberg with EVSC.

Officials say the key is keeping voters and students separated.

Both EVSC and the clerk's office say voters using designated entrances -- away from the school population -- is just one method of helping limit the spread of the virus.

"They would have to have a separate entrance so they could go directly into the polling location," Woebkenberg said. "And directly exiting that to keep them out of the school so they're not in contact with students."

While schools and voters can only do so much as to follow safety guidelines, with early voting starting October 6 voters can opt for an early start to try and avoid Election Day crowds.

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