With the last of the county’s absentee ballots being mailed in on Tuesday, the final 2020 primary elections results are in for McLean County. County Clerk Carol Eaton said the office received back the majority of absentee ballots issued.

Of the county’s 9,361 residents, 7,028 are registered voters, according to Eaton. The primary election last Tuesday, June 23 saw 397 in-person voters and 1,416 absentee voters, bringing the total registered voter turnout for the election to 28%, Eaton said, which is up just slightly from the 27% reported on last Tuesday after polls closed.

The 28% is still higher than usual, she said, as the county usually only has a 12-15% turnout for primaries.

While the special circumstances surrounding this election called for some changes to the voting system due to COVID-19, such as increased issuing of absentee ballots and early voting, Eaton said the absentee process for Kentucky counties is reliable and more controlled than many other states.

“I think Kentucky is way above many other states as far as our election process goes. We have a really good process in Kentucky and the fact that we don’t just mail out ballots to every registered voter. We only mail out ballots to those that request them,” she said.

“So it’s more controlled. It’s not like we’re going to mail out ballots and somebody can go steal all these ballots,” she added.

Although the improvised voting process this year went OK, Eaton said she would not like to go through this same process every year.

According to Eaton, the three-person staff in the County Clerk’s Office spent about one-half to three-fourths of the work day filling absentee ballot requests for residents from the beginning of the absentee application process up until the deadline for applications.

That does not include an extra person the office had come in to work 16 hours solely to help set up envelopes with signature stickers and instructions sheets.

“It was OK … we had to do it, we did it, we survived, but it’s not anything that I want to do again. It’s a lot of work,” she said.

Christie Netherton, cnetherton@mcleannews.com, 270-691-7360

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