ANDERSON — With a steady stream of people entering the Madison County Government Center, about 800 ballots have been cast in the first three days of early voting.

The line on Tuesday at times had a 1 ½-hour wait time and extended out to Ninth Street.

There were 267 ballots cast on the first day of early voting on Tuesday.

The Madison County Clerk’s office on Friday reported a total of 11,166 absentee ballots by mail have been sent and 7,055 returned.

The office is still processing requests for absentee ballots by mail.

Clerk Olivia Pratt said she was surprised by the number of people voting early.

“I figured we would have a lot of people voting early,” she said. “I think more than half the people will vote before Election Day.”

In Pratt’s tenure as county clerk, this is her first presidential election, which has become complicated because of the coronavirus.

“I have nothing else to compare it to,” she said.

The clerk’s office is encouraging people to wear masks and maintain social distancing. A limited number of people are allowed at any one time in the room where the voting is taking place.

Greg Dollens of Anderson said he doesn’t normally vote early.

“I’m in the bad section (high risk) for watching out for the virus, and I thought it would be a good idea to come up here where there would be less people,” he said. “I know a lot of people are thinking I don’t need the big crowds, I’ll just come early.”

Dollens said he votes in every election or “mom would haunt me.”

He said most people know how they’re voting before getting to the ballot booth.

Dollens did consider voting by mail.

James Boone was also voting early for the first time.

“Since I’m working it’s hard to get some time off,” he said. “I already had something I was taking time off for and this was the perfect time. I decided to take care of this before going back to work.”

Boone was also considered voting by mail.

“For the most part I knew how I was voting,” he said. “I wish there would have been more forums to hear from the local representatives.”

Brittany Burris also voted early for the first time on Thursday.

“It was just a matter of timing,” she said.

Burris didn’t consider voting by mail.

“I did a lot of research,” she said before casting her ballot. “I think it’s important to be educated on the candidates.”

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter

@KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.

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