Absentee voter requests on track with 2008 numbers

By Patty Yauger pyauger@heraldstandard.com
Published 2:00 AM EDT

Those that will not be in Fayette or Greene counties on Election Day still have a few days to cast an absentee ballot.

Although the clock is ticking, voters have until 5 p.m. Tuesday to receive an absentee ballot application and until 5 p.m. Friday to have the marked ballot in the hands of their respective county election bureaus.

Larry Blosser, Fayette County Election Bureau director, said application requests for the ballots have been brisk, with more than 2,050 sought by those that will be unable to visit their precinct polling place on Nov. 8.

He said that that the staff has not tracked how many have been returned to the office, either in person or by mail.

“There are Republicans, Democrats, Independents and others requesting absentee ballots,” he said. “There are a lot of people in this area that go south at this time of the year and they want to make sure they vote before leaving.”

While the 2,000-plus figure is high, it remains less than the 2008 presidential election numbers, Blosser added.

Tina Kriger, Greene County Election Bureau director, said 817 voters have requested an absentee ballot application to take part in the election.

More than 400 ballots have been received by the office.

The use of absentee ballots is only allowable for those that will not be in their municipality during voting hours or have a medical reason that would prohibit them from going to the polls.

“I had a person call requesting an application saying they wouldn’t have transportation that day,” said Blosser. “That is not a legitimate reason.”

The application requires a specific reason for the absenteeism.

“We vet the applications,” said Blosser. “If there is a discrepancy, we call them and help them resolve the issue, if possible.”

Blosser and Kiger are advising those that do want to vote via an absentee ballot to do so promptly as mail service can be unpredictable.

“I would suggest that they bring in their application and vote at the counter,” said Blosser. “The turnaround time can be two to three days.

“If you drop off your application (at the election bureau office ) on Tuesday, you may not receive your ballot until Thursday, maybe Friday.

“At that time your only option is to bring your ballot to the office.”

Blosser also cautions that only the voter listed on the application can return his or her ballot.

“We can’t take your husband’s or wife’s ballot or those of your parents,” he said. “We can only receive (the lone voter ballot).”

The ballots will be delivered to the respective precincts on election day, where they will be opened and counted after the polls close.

Military absentee ballots, too, are being received from the Armed Forces serving stateside or around the world.

Special accommodations — including the extension of deadlines — have been made for the military voters to submit their ballots.

The Fayette County Election Bureau is located at 22 E. Main St., Uniontown. For additional information regarding absentee voting, call 724-430-1289.

The Greene County bureau office is located at 93 E. High St., Waynesburg. For additional information, call 724-852-5304.

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