'Steady' early voting in CC

Carroll County Clerk Brian Woessner collects vote-by-mail ballots from a secure drop box in front of the main entrance to the Carroll County Courthouse.

By SAMANTHA PIDDE

Carroll County Clerk Brian Woessner said last week that he would classify early voting for the Nov. 3 general election as "steady.”

The county clerk's office opened to early voting on Sept. 24 and Woessner said about 35 persons voted in his office that day. As of Thursday, Oct. 1, more than 215 persons had come to the courthouse to cast their ballot.

Early voting is available through Nov. 2, in the Carroll County Clerk's office in the courthouse, 301 N. Main St., Mount Carroll.

People may vote from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The office also will be open for early voting from 9 a.m. until noon on Saturday, Oct. 24, and Saturday, Oct. 31.

Woessner's office also continues to handle vote-by-mail requests. Last week he said his office had received 2,250 vote-by-mail applications to date and began sending out ballots to these individuals on Sept. 24.

Woessner said his office has received many calls on when voters could expect their ballots in the mail. He said he expected anyone who submitted a vote-by-mail application to have received their ballot by Friday, Oct. 2.

Once received, people may return their ballots via mail. Woessner cautioned people not to wait too long to send them back as the post office expects there could be delays. The post office recommends voters mail in ballots at least five days prior to the Nov. 3 election.

Any ballots postmarked Nov. 4 or later will not be counted. Woessner said USPS representatives have said they will not guarantee ballots put in the mail box on Nov. 3 will be postmarked that day.

Voters uncertain about mailing their ballots can turn them in directly at the county clerk's office or place them in a special drop box, which is chained to an outside pillar by the courthouse main entrance. Woessner emphasized that the metal box is securely locked and is under 24-hour surveillance seven days a week.

"The vote-by-mail ballots have just started sprinkling in," Woessner said.

As of Thursday, Oct. 1, Woessner's office had received 25 vote-by-mail ballots, but he expects that to increase soon as more people receive their ballots in the mail. His office collects the ballots from the drop box daily.

Woessner reminds anyone who requested a vote-by-mail ballot that they can choose to vote in his office or at the polling locations on election day instead, but must “surrender the ballot that was sent to them.”

Woessner said he wants to assure people who do not want to vote-by-mail or vote early in his office that normal precinct polling locations will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election day as usual.

Anyone who has not registered to vote can do so via "Grace Period Registration and Voting" in the county clerk’s office. People registering to vote via this method will be required to cast their ballot the same day.

Anyone entering the Carroll County Courthouse must go through security and wear a face mask.

Individuals wanting to register to vote must be a United States citizen; be at least 18 years old by Nov. 3, 2020; have been a resident of the precinct at least 30 days prior to the election; have a valid ID.

For questions of more information, call the county clerk’s office at 815-244-0221.