FLUSHING TWP. — Flushing Township is preparing for long lines at the polls and an influx of absentee ballots at the Nov. 3 general election.
In preparation for Nov. 3, Flushing Township Clerk Wendy Meinburg has doubled her absentee vote counting boards and hired extra election inspectors. The township has also secured two new tabulators, added a drop box inside the township hall lobby and stocked up on personal protective equipment (PPE) for its staff.
Meanwhile, Meinburg is advising voters to complete and return absentee ballots as soon as they receive them.
“If it’s a week before Election Day and you haven’t mailed your ballot yet, drop it off at the township at one of our drop boxes just to be safe,” she said. “With the postal service being overloaded and so many ballots going out, you don’t want to risk it not getting through.”
Flushing Township processed 1,935 absentee ballots during the Aug. 4 election, which was triple the number of absentee votes that the township usually receives in a primary.
Meinburg said that she expects even higher absentee vote numbers on Nov. 3.
“Since we began issuing absentee ballots throughout the township, we’ve reached more than 40 percent of voters on the permanent AV list,” she said. “Normally, we only reach about 10 percent during the first few days.”
First-time absentee voters can request an absentee ballot application from the township clerk’s office and turn in their application either by dropping it off at one of the township’s drop boxes or mailing it to the township hall. Voters can also take a picture of their application and email it to the township clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meinburg is reminding voters to include their signatures on the applications and on the outside of the ballot envelopes.
“Make sure you fill out all the info that is required and include a phone number on your ballot application,” she said. “If there is an issue where something is missing from a person’s application, we’ll have a way to contact them.”
Meinburg also said that her election inspectors will be working hard to make the polls safe for voters who plan to cast their ballots in person. Workers will be cleaning tables and voting booth areas frequently, and each voter will be given their own pen to use when they fill out ballot registration forms.
With extra safety protocols in place and a huge turnout expected, Meinburg said that voters should be prepared to handle slight delays at their precincts.
“Be patient, be aware and don’t expect to walk in and think it will just be five minutes in and out,” she said. “Give yourself some time to vote.”
To keep ahead of the election rush, Flushing Township will close its offices for general business on Election Day and the day before Election Day. However, the offices will be open for election purposes only.
Meinburg will also be at her office on the Saturday before Election Day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to receive ballots.