Every election cycle, Indiana election officials take great care to ensure your vote is safe and secure. This year is no different, but the COVID-19 pandemic has required us to safeguard a new aspect of the Election Day experience: your health.
COVID-19 numbers are trending in the right direction, but we must remain vigilant in the days to come. My office has been working to supply all 92 Indiana counties with personal protective equipment, or PPE, so that poll workers and election staffers are properly outfitted for the primary election on June 2.
Paid for with federal dollars, many of our PPE supplies have been contracted from Indiana suppliers, and we have purchased thousands of units of hand sanitizer, dispenser bottles, disinfectant cleaner, microfiber cloths, disposable gloves, face masks, face shields and sneeze guards.
We've been very careful not to solicit vendors that are supplying critical care needs or to interfere with those supply lines. We received our materials at a state warehouse last week. Some supplies are being stored as surplus in the event of a recount, and the rest have been distributed to counties.
We couldn't have done this alone. The Indiana National Guard has been invaluable, taking the lead on receiving, sorting and shipping supplies to all 92 counties. Without the support of the Guard, we wouldn't have been able to stay on schedule with this project.
It's important to note these supplies only cover poll workers and election staffers, so for those of you planning to vote early or in-person this primary election, please use common sense, and if you are high-risk, wear a mask to your polling place. We all need to do our part to keep our communities safe. I urge you to join our poll workers in following CDC guidelines for personal protection and social distancing.
The polls will be open Tuesday. Many Hoosiers value the experience of casting their ballot in person, which is why we're working diligently to keep our polling places safe and sanitary. If you prefer to vote in person, I encourage you to consider voting early. Early voting is available in every county from now until noon Monday. We've chosen to open early voting for a week to reduce the number of Hoosiers going to the polls at the same time.
Despite the extra precautions we've had to take, I am pleased to report that interest in the primary remains high. Hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers have taken advantage of no-excuse absentee voting, and many more have reached out to ask about early voting options.
If you need to look up your polling place, view a sample ballot, or contact your county clerk, go to www.indianavoters.com. Election season is moving full speed ahead in Indiana, and thanks to so many people around this state, we can cast our votes with confidence.
Connie Lawson is Indiana secretary of state.