Be sure to follow rules, laws if voting absentee

Published 10:10 pm Tuesday, February 7, 2012

As the March 13 party primaries near, Pike County residents will begin casting absentee ballots.

And officials want to make sure those who choose that option understand the laws and requirements.

Absentee ballots are available to voters who cannot participate in the election process on the day of the primary. Specifically,  the absentee voting process is open to a person who has a physical illness which prevents attendance; who works a shift of at least 10 hours which coincide with the hours polls are open; who is a student at an educational institution located outside of the county of primary residence; who is a member of, or spouse or dependent of a member of, the armed forces of the United States and deployed; or who is an election officer or poll watcher at a polling place other than their regular polling place.

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Absentee ballots can be applied for through March 8 and can be submitted to the Circuit Clerk’s office through March 12.

To obtain an absentee ballot, a person can download the application online  at and mail the request to the circuit clerk’s office. People can also call and request an application from the circuit clerk’s office, or have a friend or family member pick one up.  However, only the voter can return the application, either by mail or in person.

Important to know, though, is that falsfifying the form in anyone is a felony. And if you submit an absentee ballot with falsified information – including your address – you can be prosecuted. Moreover, as Pike Countians saw in a recent court case, any efforts to falsify information in an effort to gain more votes for a particular candidate can backfire, for those casting the ballots and the candidate.

So the best policy is to be to be honest and truthful. The absentee ballot process is a powerful tool to help ensure everyone has a chance to have his or her vote counted. Don’t abuse the privilege.