About 38 percent of mail ballots for the USD 373 Newton bond issue have already been returned to the Harvey County Clerk’s Office.

“We are doing pretty good. As of Monday, there were 5,213 returned and accepted,” said Rick Piepho, Harvey County clerk.

The clerk’s office mailed 13,726 ballots for the election, which contains two bond questions. The first is for renovations to Newton High School and Walton Rural Life Center with security and storm shelter upgrades to nearly every building in the district costing about $61 million. The second is for an additional $24 million to construct a new elementary south of US-50 in Newton, which would move the Walton Rural Life Center out of Walton and into Newton.

For those who have not received a ballot yet, it is likely they were deemed undeliverable by the post office. Piepho said his office has 965 of those.

“If they are truly undeliverable and no forwarding, there is nothing we really do about it,” Piepho said. “If those people would happen to come in, they can vote provisionally. We would determine if they were eligible.”

All ballots are due back to the clerk’s office by Sept. 3 — not postmarked by that date, but delivered.

“Something people need to be careful of is that Monday is a holiday,” Piepho said. “That means no mail delivery on Monday ... They have to be in my office by noon on the third. We will start counting ballots at about 1:30 p.m. that day.  There is a payment drop box on the south side of the courthouse. They can drop it there. As we get closer, they may want to drop it here or in my office just to be sure it gets there.”

There are 61 ballots, at this time, that have been mailed back to his office, votes enclosed, without the required signatures on the envelope.

“Right now we have them in a suspended status because we are trying to get ahold of their signatures,” Piepho said.