Out of 47 primaries, 4 warning signs about voting in a pandemic

However, what worked well in Kentucky may not be easy to replicate in November. This is why:

In Georgia, the Macon-Bibb County Board of Elections complained Tuesday that it was short of cash, with a runoff in August and the November general election yet to come. The pandemic has pinched the board at both ends, Georgia Public Broadcasting reported: An avalanche of absentee ballot requests increased election spending, but the budget fell as Covid-19 cut county tax revenue.

In Wapakoneta, Ohio, the Auglaize County Board of Elections faces similar problems. “We already used the money from the November elections for March,” said board director Michelle Wilcox, referring to the state mail primaries. County officials could still cut spending by 20 percent, he said, but “I’m not buying for November yet.”

And turnout in November, he said, could be almost four times the 22 percent turnout in the primary election.

Ms. Wilcox, who is part of a state task force preparing for the November vote, said the cost of postage and staff to process ballots raised the average cost of an absentee ballot to $ 5 in a small county.

Federal coronavirus stimulus legislation allocated some money for the election (Ohio received $ 12.9 million) and Congress set aside an additional $ 400 million in an earlier bill. But electoral experts say more is needed, and a $ 3.6 billion election package, part of a $ 3 trillion stimulus bill passed in May by the Democratic House, remains stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Although voting by mail will increase this fall, many voters will still cast their votes in person, experts say. But poll workers are very rare.

Nearly six out of 10 poll workers were 61 or older in 2018, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center. In Kentucky, nearly nine in 10 refused to work in this month’s pandemic-plagued primaries, the main reason polling places were reduced to a handful.