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Adams County sees spike in vote by mail applications

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There's a spike in applications to vote by mail in Adams County.

Officials said, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they're seeing more people who want to vote by mail, than ever before.

Officials at the clerk's office said there are 5,000 of these vote by mail ballots inside, waiting to go out.

That's more than a 10 percent increase compared to past years.

As the county gears up to vote in just over a month, they're making sure everyone who wants to is ready to cast their ballot from home.

Adams County Clerk Ryan Niekamp said it's been a busy past few weeks for them.

"In the last week, we have been busy stuffing the ballots into all these envelopes," Niekamp said.

"This is the envelope and once the voter gets it, they'll open it up, they'll receive a certification envelope, a return mail envelope," Niekamp said.

He said the envelopes are secured from the moment they get to you, to the moment they go in the machine to get counted.

"They're going to then put the ballot into the certification envelope, they must sign and date it," Niekamp said.

"Then, it gets put into this return mail envelope and then returns back to our office," Niekamp said. "We do it this way, so the voters ballot is private."

Niekamp said usually they see about 900 vote by mail applications. This year, he said they have 5,000 so far.

"In past elections, we typically receive around half a percent of the total voter registration that have requested vote by mail ballots," Niekamp said. This year though is a little different. We're up to about 11 and a half percent of the total voters requesting this vote by mail ballot."

"Once we get it, then we'll take it, take it back out, look at the certification envelope here and we're going to match the signiature right here to make sure it's on file," Niekamp said. "If it's not what we have on file, the ballot will be rejected and not counted."

Niekamp said the mailbox will close at 7 p.m. on election night.

"I think it's very important that voters know, we have got five thousand applications and I think it's very important that everyone knows that we have verified each and every one of those signatures," Niekamp said. "It's taken a lot of time and man power to do, but we have."

Here's some dates you'll need to keep in mind, ahead of the election:

Neikamp said his office will send ballots to applicants by September 24.

September 24 at 8:30 a.m. is when you can early vote.

If you're waiting for a ballot in the mail, you should receive that by October 5.

If you apply to vote by mail after September 24, you will receive your ballot within two days of the receipt.

October 29 is the last day to apply to vote by mail.

All vote by mail ballots must be post marked by November 3, in order to count.

You can track the progress of your mail in vote here.

Kara Biernat

Kara Biernat is a MultiMedia Journalist for WGEM News.

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