Right now, a lot of local business activity has slowed to a crawl because of the COVID-19 shut down orders, but that’s certainly not the case when it comes to election activity.
According to Guilford County Board of Elections Director Charlie Collicutt, there’s a tremendous amount of pre-election business being taken care of right now even though Election Day is still two months away.
“It’s going to be an incredibly large election from an activity point of view,” Collicutt told the Guilford County Board of Commissioners recently during a work session.
“The big one is absentee by mail requests,” he said. “We’re getting just tons of absentee by mail requests. We’ve gotten three times more requests right now than all the ballots we mailed out in 2016.”
The Board of Elections has already received over 30,000 requests for absentee ballots by mail. In 2016, the total, when it was all said and done, was right at 12,000.
Collicutt said just tracking the by mail voting this election would take a “huge” effort.
He already warned the commissioners months ago that there would be extra costs for holding the election during a pandemic. Fortunately, the federal government has been very generous with COVID-19 relief funding for Guilford County, and the commissioners have set aside some of that money for things like disinfecting polling places and handling the extra voting by mail.
“A lot of the costs of by mail voting are covered because it is a direct result of the pandemic,” Collicutt said.
He also said there have been a lot of voter registrations, changes of address and other paperwork to handle for the 2020 election, and he added that early voting sites would all be open at the same time this year rather than staggered as in the past.