This year’s election is going to be unlike any other. Not only because of the increased security measures, but also because Buchanan County is expecting a record turnout.
The county has already had two elections under the COVID-19 procedures, so if you voted in the primaries, the November election should look similar.
“We’ve already had two elections under our belt with all the COVID provisions we’ve implemented for Buchanan County,” said Mary Baack-Garvey, the Buchanan County Clerk. “So we have everything from the Plexiglas shields that would go in between the election judge and the voter, hand sanitizer everywhere. Rubber gloves and masks are made available for those that would choose to use them.”
But people who are concerned with their health can vote by mail. A couple of election judges have already backed out of their position for the year due to underlying health conditions. The county has had no problem finding replacements though.
“They’re just a little nervous about being out all day around the public,” Baack-Garvey said.” “That’s totally understandable, but that’s why we’re recruiting more judges and we’re getting them replaced right away.”
J.D. Carrel is one of the longest-standing election judges in the county. He will be working his seventh presidential election as the democratic supervisor for the A1 precinct.
“I feel very safe about it,” Carrel said. “The last two elections, we didn’t have any problems whatsoever. Nobody complained.”
While the primary elections had the same safety measures, there will be many more voters in November.
“I can just tell by the calls that we’re receiving with the mail-in and absentee ballots,” Baack-Garvey said. “The presidential (election) always brings turnout, so yeah, we’re gonna see record numbers.”
Carrel said 600 people voted at his precinct in the primary. He hopes that number doubles for the upcoming election.
But record turnouts shouldn’t mean long waits. The tablets used to check in voters make the process very quick. Baack-Garvey said there shouldn’t be more than a 20 minute wait.
While Carrel’s election days are long, typically from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., he hopes to see as many people as possible on November 3.
“It’s your duty to vote,” Carrel said. “Since my 18th birthday, when I became a registered voter, I haven’t missed an election yet. And I wish everybody thought that way.”
“Whether you vote, Democrat or Republican, just get out and vote. Look, we want the record turnout. I just want you to come vote and exercise your right to vote.”
The deadline to register to vote is October 7. Election day is November 3.