Early voting begins in Indiana, New Mexico, Ohio


CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Early voting is getting underway in Indiana, New Mexico and Ohio on Tuesday, with just 28 days until the 2020 presidential election.

Local election officials in Indiana are anticipating a heavy turnout, as the state assures voters that safety precautions are in place to help prevent coronavirus transmission.

While masks aren’t required for voters at Indiana polling places, they’ll be made available, as will gloves, NewsNation affiliate WGN reported. All poll pads and machines will be regularly sanitized.

Indiana is one of seven states that require a reason for absentee voting, such as having to work during the hours polls are open. However, coronavirus isn’t listed as an accepted reason.

Ohio has also stepped up safety measures as early voting gets underway Tuesday.

In Hamilton County, which includes Cincinnati, the voting center more than doubles the space of the usual voting facility in the same complex in suburban Norwood. Disinfectants and masks will be offered to voters, and 6-feet spacing is marked for lines.

Sherry Poland, county elections director, said authorities feel “well-prepared” and expect strong turnout in a hotly contested presidential election year. But she acknowledged they can’t be certain about what to expect.

“We don’t have a history of conducting a presidential election during a pandemic,” she told reporters Monday. This will be the fifth presidential election Poland has worked.

Officials are hoping Ohioans will take advantage of early voting opportunities between now and the Nov. 3 election day. Besides weekday voting, early voting will be available the last two weekends before the election. Officials also urge those voting by mail not to wait until the final days, risking their vote arriving on time to get counted if the postal service is running slowly.

“Please don’t wait until the last minute,” said Gwen McFarlin, an elections board member and chairwoman of the county’s Democratic Party. “We just don’t know.”

Tuesday also kicks off the start of voting in New Mexico.

County clerks across the state will begin sending out absentee ballots to voters who have requested them, NewsNation affiliate KRQE reported. Voters have until Oct. 20 at 5 p.m. to request an absentee ballot, and completed ballots must be mailed by Oct. 27.

The Associated Press and NewsNation affiliates WGN and KRQE contributed to this report.

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