Voting polls are set up on the second floor of the County Office Building.

Voting polls are set up on the second floor of the Riley County Office Building.

Riley County clerk Rich Vargo said the amount of requests for mail ballots this year is close to surpassing the numbers from the last presidential election in 2016.

The 2016 election had 6,337 people who participated by voting through the mail while the county has already seen requests for 6,322 mail application ballots this year, Vargo reported Monday. The registration deadline for the primary election was scheduled to pass Tuesday.

“Of course it’s due to the situation we’re in,” Vargo said. “We expected people would want to have a different alternative than polling place elections this election cycle due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And it turns out, that’s to be the case.”

The primary election is Aug. 4 and the general election is Nov. 3. Vargo said 29 of the 30 voting places will be open Aug. 4.

Advance voting in-person starts Wednesday.

“Of course we will be taking the appropriate precautions,” Vargo said. “People are asked to wear their masks coming into the advanced voting location. We’ll have hand sanitizer there and do the social distancing as best we can.”

Vargo said the county continues to lose poll workers because of concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.

“So, we’ll see what election day brings,” Vargo said.