By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
A $64,830.50 grant has been accepted to help the Canadian County Election Board during what has already been a quite busy presidential election year.
Canadian County Commissioners, at their Oct. 12th meeting, approved the county election office’s receipt of a COVID-19 Response Grant from the private non-profit Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL).
The grant application was submitted by Canadian County Election Board Secretary Wanda Armold, who referred to operational and budget challenges facing election offices across the country in 2020.
Canadian County’s Election Board secretary pointed to the need for her office’s personnel to process more voter registration applications and a significant increase in absentee and mail ballots for the Tuesday, Nov. 3 general election.
Armold requested the CTCL grant funding to help cover the expenses of preparing and printing more absentee materials, covering overtime pay of her staff, along with increased supplies and postage costs.
“I think it will pay for extra office supplies, for taking care of those ballots and for extra part-time help,” Armold told county commissioners. “I’ve had 15 to 20 women in my office for the last couple weeks trying to help us get filing, making absentee packets and that kind of stuff.
“I don’t know what all expenses it will cover but I’m keeping very good documentation and I will turn in everything I can think of. I still have the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act money from the state I can use also.”
Heading this year’s November general election ballot is a hotly contested presidential race pitting President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on the Republican ticket against challengers Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on the Democrat ticket.
COUNTY VOTER NUMBERS INCREASE
Canadian County’s voter registration has increased by more than 8,000 in the past year.
As of Oct. 5, there were 86,637 registered voters in Canadian County: 52,895 Republicans, 19,407 Democrats, 13,647 Independents, and 688 Libertarians.
One year ago, there were 78,547 registered voters in Canadian County: 47,834 Republicans, 18,122 Democrats, 12,073 Independents, and 519 Libertarians.
Canadian County’s Republican total has increased by 5,061 voters, with Independents gaining ground on Democrats over the past year. Independents are up 1,574, Democrats are up 1,285, and Libertarians are up 169 in this year-over-year comparison.
CTCL’s grant program is designed to help local election offices with staffing, training and equipment.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan committed $250 million to support the effort so every eligible voter can participate in a safe and timely way – and have their vote counted.
The $250 million will support: Poll worker recruitment, hazard pay and training; polling place rental, temporary staffing support, drive-through voting, equipment to process ballots and applications, personal protective equipment for poll workers, and nonpartisan voter education from cities and counties.