In less than 55 days, voters will head to the polls for the 2020 general election.

But a number of voters will cast ballots before the Tuesday, Nov. 3, election as they will vote absentee.

In early August, Terri Martens, Crawford County Auditor, said Crawford County sent out absentee request forms to all of the addresses of active registered voters in Crawford County.

Martens said people are getting a lot of request forms for absentee ballots in the mail from different group, which has been confusing for the voters. People have been calling the courthouse to confirm they received their request form.

In Monona County, Auditor Peggy Rolph said the county only sends out request forms for absentee ballots when someone calls in or sends an email to request one.

Martens said she thinks a lot of people will vote by absentee due to COVID-19.

She added that people don’t want to forget and want to vote early Martens said.xxe

“Some people just want to get the ballot in their hands to be able to do some research.” Martens said. “There is a lot of conversation about the general election from the race for President to some of the local seats.”

Crawford County also has a contested sheriff’s race on the ballot.

Rolph also thinks people are wanting to vote by absentee due to the coronavirus as they don’t want to be out in the public.

“And it is convenient to have it mailed to you, and you just mail it back,” she said.

Absentee ballots can be mailed out starting Oct. 5. Martens said they will continue to honor request forms until Oct. 23 (the last day to mail out ballots).

Also on Oct. 5, people can start voting absentee at their county Auditor’s office during office hours. Martens said they will do their very best about sanitation in between voters by sanitizing the counter and pens.

There will be two Saturdays when both the Crawford County and Monona County Auditor’s Offices will be open. They will be open on Saturday, Oct. 24, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 31, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Voters can vote at the Auditor’s office until Monday, Nov. 2, at 5 p.m.

Martens said if voters would like to vote “curbside” at the courthouse, they can call the Auditor’s Office, and two employees will come out to the vehicles with a ballot.

Absentee ballots need to be postmarked no later than Nov. 2.

As of Sept. 8, Martens said the county has received 1,910 request forms. and as of Sept. 4, Monona County has received 625 request forms for absentee ballots.

For those choosing to vote in-person on Election Day, Nov. 3, extra precautionary safety measures will be in place just like they were for the primary election in June.

Hand sanitizer will be provided and extra masks will be available.

“It is a lot more stuff to take out to the polling places,” Rolph said.

Both Monona and Crawford Counties will have plexiglass shields for the workers.

Martens said they are recommending the wearing of masks when people come into vote at the courthouse or at the polling places on Nov. 3.

In Crawford County, there are two changes to the polling locations as all of the Denison Wards (first, second and three wards), including Goodrich and Denison Townships, will be voting at Boulders Conference Center as the space is big enough for social distancing. The precinct in Dow City won’t be at the church; it will be at the Brasel building.

Ralph said the polling location will be just like the primary election as the Onawa Wards will all vote at the Onawa Community Center and Castana will vote at the Arboretum.

Profiles of the candidates running for office in Monona and Crawford County will be published in the Mapleton Press on Oct. 29.