Election officials witnessed something they’d never seen before on Tuesday Oct. 6, 2020 – the first day to vote early in the general election.

When the polls opened at 9 a.m. at the Huntington County Courthouse, at least 40 people snaked around the main floor to vote in-person ahead of Nov. 3, General Election Day.

Full details on times and locations for early voting are included at the end of this article.

“This is my first term as clerk, but both my mother and grandfather were county clerks,” Huntington County Clerk Shelley Septer said. “I’ve been around elections all my life, so I was kind of born into elections. I have never seen anything like this. It will be really interesting to look at the numbers by the end of the day.”

By 11:38 a.m., just more than two and a half hours since the polls opened, 158 people had already cast their ballots. The socially-distanced line was nearly out the door at 9 a.m., and Septer said people were very eager to exercise their voting power.

“It is neat to see everyone so excited and passionate about voting. It is amazing and really exciting,” Septer said. “... The one lady who was first in line was adorable. She was very proud of that.”

Early voting participation wasn’t the only thing to see an increase this year. Septer reported that voter registration saw an increase too. She said many people came into the office before the Oct. 5 voter registration deadline to check their status, sign up or make their registration status active again.

“It’s just been incredible. We had a lot of first time voters or people who said they haven’t voted in 20 years, 40 years,” Septer said. “We had a family that moved here ... who were all first time voters. They had their children with them, and they were all so excited.”

Septer noted that people who registered to vote online recently before the deadline will need to wait for the state to process their records.

Septer said there are many safeguards in place to catch anyone trying to vote twice, knowingly or unknowingly.

“A lot of times in the media they talk about double voting, but we have so many fail safes in our voter registration system that it – I’ve never seen it,” Septer said.

If you have not requested an absentee ballot and you are a registered voter, you can simply come into the polls on election day or during any of the early voting times offered in Huntington County. You need a state-issued identification card to cast a vote in-person. You do not need to have a specific reason to vote early.

Early voting times and locations include:

Huntington County Courthouse, 201 N. Jefferson St., Huntington: Monday through Friday Oct. 6 to Oct 30, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday Oct. 24 and Oct. 31, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Monday Nov. 2, from 9 a.m. to noon; Election Day, Nov. 3, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Andrews Town Hall, 66 N. Main St., Andrews: Friday Oct. 23, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Nazarene Church, 1555 Flaxmill Road, Huntington: Saturday Oct. 24, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

American Legion, 1410 S. Jefferson St., Huntington: Monday and Tuesday Oct. 25 and Oct. 26, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Huntington YMCA, 1160 W. 500 N., Huntington: Tuesday Oct. 27, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Wednesday, Oct 28, from noon to 6 p.m.

Cottage Event Center, 9524 U.S. 24 N., Roanoke: Tuesday Oct. 29, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday Oct. 29, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 31, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Huntington County uses a vote-center system. This means voters are not required to go to any one specific precinct or voting location. Anyone eligible to vote can cast a ballot at any of the following sites on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Huntington County Courthouse, 201 N. Jefferson St., Huntington.

Heritage Hall, County Fairgrounds, 631 E. Taylor St., Huntington.

YMCA, 1160 W. 500 N., Huntington.

Nazarene Church, 1555 Flaxmill Road, Huntington.

Cottage Event Center, 9524 U.S. 24 N., Roanoke.

Warren Church of Christ, 302 N. Wayne St., Warren.

Ways to vote by absentee

Absentee by Mail: You must request an absentee ballot application, complete it and return it by mail or fax. The application will be processed and a ballot will be sent to you by mail. You may vote Absentee by Mail if you are a registered voter and you:

You have a specific, reasonable expectation that you will be absent from the county on Election Day during the entire 12 hours that the polls are open (6 AM – 6 PM)

You have a disability

You are at least 65 years of age

You are scheduled to work at your regular place of employment during the entire 12 hours that the polls are open

You will be confined due to illness or injury or you will be caring for an individual confined due to illness or injury during the entire 12 hours that the polls are open

You are prevented from voting because of a religious discipline or religious holiday during the entire 12 hours that the polls are open

You are a participant in the state’s address confidentiality program

You are a member of the military or a public safety officer

You are a “serious sex offender” as defined in Indiana Code 35-42-4-14(a)

You are prevented from voting due to the unavailability of transportation to the polls

How to apply for a vote by mail ballot

Voter must first complete an ABS-Mail application before each election. The application to request a vote-by-mail ballot must be received not later than 11:59 PM, 12-days before the election, or

Thursday, October 22, 2020 for the November election. The county or the state must have the application in their possession by this deadline; any application received after this deadline – even if it’s postmarked before the deadline – cannot be processed.

Hoosier voters who are currently registered to vote can file an absentee application:

Online at www.indiana voters.com by logging in to their “my voter portal page” by entering the requested information exactly as it appears on their voter registration record.

By mail or hand-delivery: MAIL: Huntington Election Office, P O Box 228, Huntington IN 46750 HAND-DELIVERY: Courthouse – 201 N Jefferson St, Room 202

By email: yvette. runkle@huntington.in.us

Request by phone: 260-358-4820

Absentee by Traveling Board:

Absentee voting by travel board is an option for some voters to have a bi-partisan team deliver the voter’s ballot and assist the person with completing their ballot during the 19-day period before the election. In order to vote absentee-by-traveling board, one of the following must apply:

The voter expects to be confined, due to illness or injury, or the voter expects to be caring for a confined person at a private residence, on Election Day

The voter is a voter with disabilities and believes their polling place is not accessible to them

The voter is physically unable to complete the ballot and sign the affidavit on their own

The application to request a travel board must be received not later than noon (local prevailing time), the day before the Election or November 2, 2020 Appointments may be limited! Voters interested in the travel board option are encouraged to apply early.

Questions? Call the Huntington County Election Office (260) 358-4820.