Election commission prepares for voting amid pandemic

JACKSON, Tenn. — When we first spoke to Kim Buckley, administrator of elections for Madison County, she encouraged voters to request absentee ballots if they qualified, and early results are promising.

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“We have seen a small uptick in applications to vote absentee,” Buckley said.

The next time voters go to the polls will be August 6.

But despite the small rise in absentee applications, Buckley says the election commission is preparing for a large amount of in-person voting.

The commission will be taking precautions at every step of the way.

“Protective equipment for our workers and whatever we can for the voters,” Buckley said. “We will be sanitizing the machines between each voter, I’m sure of that. We’re doing whatever we can to encourage and implement social distancing.”

The state government is trying to organize supply deliveries to election commissions. Buckley says they receive constant updates.

“We do that once a day now, and things are changing pretty rapidly,” Buckley said.

Multiple states, including Tennessee, are facing lawsuits, requesting that absentee voting be open to all Tennesseeans without restriction.

Buckley says she wants to clear up misconceptions about the approval process.

“You hear a lot of rhetoric right now about abuse and so forth. But we deal with one voter at a time,” Buckley said. “All we can do is just be vigilant, try to be prepared as we can be to try and be proactive in problems that may occur.”

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