Zents prepare to vote

In this Oct. 19, 2018 file photo, Wendy and Rep. Denny Zent, R-Angola, head up the stairs to the Steuben County Courthouse so they can vote early. Steuben County Clerk Tangi Manahan is urging people to vote early by mail this coming May 5 primary election due to COVID-19.

ANGOLA — Steuben County Clerk Tangi Manahan is recommending people vote absentee by mail this primary election due to COVID-19.

"We just want to be proactive with this virus going around," Manahan said. "Anybody who's registered to vote can vote by mail."

The last day to register to vote is April 6, the day before absentee voting begins.

Typically those who vote by mail include people in the service, the infirm and college students, for example.

That trend might be changing with this election. Government officials are restricting crowd sizes in order to prevent the spread of disease due to the coronavirus.

An expansion in voting by mail might help Manahan achieve one of her top goals, and that's to get people to vote.

"We want to make sure every voter has the opportunity to vote," she said.

To request a mail-in ballot, people need to call the voter registration desk in the clerk's office to request a mail-in ballot. The number to call is 668-1000, ext. 2220. Applications to request a mail-in ballot are due April 23. Ballots must be returned by noon, Election Day, May 5.

As of now, in-person early voting will continue as usual. Absentee voting opens on Tuesday, April 7 and closes on Monday, May 4. Absentee voting hours are, Monday through Friday through May 1, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Voting on Saturday, April 25 and May 2 is from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. On Monday, May 4, voting is available from 8 a.m. to noon. This voting is in the Steuben County Courthouse in the first office on the right after the main entrance.

Satellite voting will also be offered this election during the last week in April.

The traveling absentee offices will give voters more opportunities to vote absentee in person in their communities.

An absentee board will hold voting hours from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the special, traveling absentee events. They will be held:

• Monday at the Pleasant Lake Mennonite Church, 5142 S. Old U.S. 27, Pleasant Lake;

• Tuesday at the Hamilton United Methodist Church, 7780 S. Wayne St., Hamilton;

• Wednesday at the Orland Town Hall, 9535 W. S.R. 120, Orland; and,

• Thursday at the Fremont Town Hall, 205 N. Tolford St., Fremont.

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