Some of the estimated 3,000 to 5,000 absentee ballot applications awaiting processing in the Pickens elections office.
“We are working as fast as we can,” said Elections Office Supervisor Julianne Roberts, regarding the 3,000 to 5,000 absentee ballot requests that they are processing ahead of the June 9th Primary election.
Roberts said they anticipate having all of them handled within the next two weeks so that anyone who has requested an absentee ballot by mail will have it by the time early voting starts on May 18th.
Roberts said the elections office on Pioneer Road is getting regular calls from anxious voters wondering where their absentee ballot is. “If you haven’t got anything back, it doesn’t mean we don’t have your application,” she said. “It’s just taking a while. Give us time to work.”
Roberts said all the applications must be opened and verified against the voter’s information before an absentee ballot is sent, so it takes a while.
Pickens County has 23,000 registered voters and Roberts estimates there are 3,000 minimum and maybe as many 5,000 applications in their folders awaiting action.
Roberts said as they are going through the applications they are notifying people immediately if any problem with their ballot request pops up so it can be corrected regarding the information they sent.
She asked everyone to give at least two more weeks before calling to check on their application.
Roberts also wants to emphasize that voting absentee by paper ballot is another option in addition to the regular early voting and voting on election day at the normal polls.
With the way the state’s letter regarding absentee applications presented it, Roberts said it could have left people thinking this was the only way to vote. But regular voting will be in place and Roberts said masks and gloves are allowable in any polls and the voting machines will work fine when someone is wearing gloves.
Roberts said it will be easiest for both the voter and her office if everyone who requested a paper absentee goes ahead and uses it. They can either mail it back or bring it by the office on Pioneer Road, across from the Jasper City Park ballfields.
She said it would create more paperwork if someone who requested an absentee ballot changed their mind and showed up at the polls to vote regularly.