Absentee ballots due soon

Published 3:00 am Friday, October 24, 2014

The deadline for absentee ballots in the Nov. 4 general election is quickly approaching.

The deadline for absentee ballots is Thursday, Oct. 30, five days prior to the vote.

Circuit Clerk Jaime Scarbrough also serves as the county’s Absentee Election Manager. Scarbrough said while she wasn’t sure of the amount of ballots received for the last general election, she had seen a large amount come through the office for this election.

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“I’m not sure about the numbers from the last general election, but so far, I have sent out about 350 applications,” Scarbrough said. “I’m not sure of the exact number, but I’ve processed about 200 of those this week, so far.”

In order to qualify for an absentee ballot a voter must:

Be out of the state or county on Election Day.

Have a physical illness or infirmity which prevents attendance to the polls regardless of being in or out of the county on the day of election.

Work a shift which has at least 10 hours which coincide with the hours of the polls are open for their assigned polling place.

Be enrolled as a student at an educational institution located outside the county of their residence.

Be a member, dependent or spouse of a military member or is similarly qualified.

Be appointed as an election official or a poll watcher for a polling place that is not their assigned poll.

Scarbrough said the absentee ballots must include several different items including the residence where the voter is register to vote and when returned either a valid photo ID or a photocopy of that ID.

Ballots may be hand-delivered to the courthouse or returned by mail. Another individual may pick up an absentee ballot application but may not return it for a voter.

Recently, Scarbrough spoke out of the concerns absentee ballots bring including the falsification of the ballots. While Pike County has not seen any forged ballots, Scarbough said absentee election managers still look for key identifiers in separating a valid ballot from a forged ballot.

“It’s been different things like the same person notarizing numerous ballots or the same witnesses witnessing numerous ballots,” Scarbourgh said. “For all ballots on an absentee application, you can actually request to have the ballot sent to another address for different reasons. Another clerk had several hundred absentee ballots that had been requested to be sent to the same address, and it had been one of the candidate’s business addresses.”

Voter fraud is a Class C Felony, Scarbrough said, which can result in no less than a year or no more than 10 years in prison or monetary fines.

“If necessary we want people to use the absentee ballots, but it is a Class C felony to fraudulently take advantage of the system,” Scarbrough said.

For more information, contact the Circuit clerk’s Office at 566-5113.