Absentee ballots requests up this year

Published 8:11 pm Thursday, October 9, 2008

There is less than a month for residents to apply for an absentee ballot for the upcoming Nov. 4 general election.

Circuit Clerk Roger Powell said there are only 22 days before the Oct. 30 application deadline.

Local interest in not only the presidential race but also seats on the Covington County Commission in the races has prompted the Covington County Circuit Clerk’s office to hire an additional staff member to handle the increased business.

“It’s already been steady with people coming into apply,” Powell said. “I fully expect it to pick up even more, maybe even to the point where you might have to stand in line on the 30th – there’s that much interest in the race.

“This is going to be a historic election with a huge turnout,” he said. “So, we decided to do things a little differently so that things run smoothly.”

Powell said voters can obtain the ballots at his office in the Covington County Courthouse and can submit the form one of two ways.

“One is in person. The other is by mail,” he said. “If you chose to return your ballot in person, please remember you have to be the one to turn it in. Your spouse or anyone else can not turn it in for you.”

To apply for an absentee ballot, residents must be a registered voter, as well as have a legitimate reason for voting absentee, he said.

“One can’t vote absentee because it’s a matter of convenience,” he said. “The voter has to select a reason why they are out of the county on election day.”

Powell said that generally, people out of the county, physically unable to go to the polls, students out of the county and other reasons account for the use of absentee ballots.

Since the deadline is fast approaching, he urges voters to not wait until the last minute to apply for the ballot.

“Please, don’t wait until the last minute,” he said. “Like I said before you really might have to stand in line. Already we’re ahead of the schedule with the number of people who have requested ballots. I just don’t want people to have to wait.”

However, if a situation arises when after the deadline for an absentee ballot, don’t despair.

“Like if a medical situation or other emergency situation comes up, just contact our office and we’ll see what we can do,” he said.

Additionally, the deadline for registering to vote in the general election is the close of business Oct. 24, said Sammy Glover of the Covington County Board of Registrars office.