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County gears up for 2020 elections

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With the municipal elections now on the books, Montgomery County is gearing up for what promises to be a frenzied 2020 voting season.

Extra voting machines will be installed at vote centers and the clerk’s office received additional money to hire more poll workers. Early voting hours are being extended in the towns.

“It’s going to be busy no matter what we do,” said clerk Karyn Douglas, encouraging residents to take advantage of early voting times to prevent delays on Election Day.

Along with the battle for the White House, voters will cast ballots for governor, Congress and the Indiana General Assembly.

A pair of county commissioner districts and three at-large county council seats will be on the ballot, along with candidates for two judges seats, the prosecutor and other county offices, including Douglas’s.

The county saw record turnout in 2016, when 64% of registered voters showed up at the polls, according to data from the Indiana Secretary of State’s office.

Turnout in presidential election years has been on the rise here since at least 2004, when 57% of registered voters cast a ballot. Vote centers were introduced in 2016.

In anticipation of the interest, the county approved the purchase of 10 new machines, which will be divided up among the five polling sites.

On top of those, more machines may be added at St. Bernard Catholic Church and Rock Point Church — the two busiest voting places, Douglas said.

More poll workers will be on hand during early voting and on Election Day. During early voting, one additional worker will be assigned to the courthouse and two more will be stationed at Rock Point. Each vote center will have two additional workers on Election Day.

The county is in “desperate” need of more people to work at the polls. A recent change in election laws requires two poll workers, a Republican and a Democrat, to initial the backside of each completed ballot.

Voter registration for the spring primary opens in December. Eligible voters can register or check their voting status at www.indianavoters.com.

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