GREENFIELD — Brisk weather wasn’t enough to keep some Hancock County residents from casting ballots on the first day of early voting Tuesday, not when so many contested primaries and funding for a new jail hang in the balance.

Despite nine contested Republican primaries for county seats — no local Democrats have filed — the biggest question for voters might be the jail referendum question asking if voters will approve of a property tax hike to help pay for a new jail building and other community correction improvements.

Jessica Abraham, who cast her vote at the Hancock County Courthouse Tuesday, said she thought the question on the ballot was confusing, echoing a sentiment expressed by many voters as Election Day nears.

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“It didn’t really give me any clarity,” she said. “I think there’s still a lot of unanswered questions about that project.”

Debra Hull agreed. She wondered why the question wasn’t saved for the November General Election when the county would have more details finalized. While the overall project is estimated to cost no more than $55 million, few financing details have been provided.

“I thought the question on the ballot was very vague,” Hull said.

County officials have said they hope to have final design of the new jail building and a location picked — their first choice has been all but ruled out because of poor soil conditions — before Election Day on May 8.

Crowded local races, as well as the convenience of getting to the polls ahead of Election Day lines, also brought early voters out Tuesday, when voting opened at the courthouse as well as McCordsville Town Hall.

Kenneth Andrick, a lifelong county resident, chose to vote early because he’ll be helping out as a poll worker on Election Day. His attention will be focused on helping others through the process May 8.

He knows it’s important to vote and make his voice heard, he said.

“From when I was very young, my dad and grandad were always preaching to me about the importance of voting,” Andrick said. “So I make sure I never miss an election.”

Andrick added he feels confident that he knows enough about the Republican candidates to make an informed decision, even though official Election Day for the primary is still about a month away.

“I’ve been studying all the candidates and really digging into what they stand for,” he said. “There are so many good candidates this year.”

Up north in McCordsville, voting was slow for the first day with only a handful of people voting in the first few hours, according to election workers.

Overall, 92 ballots were submitted county-wide on Tuesday, according to clerk Marcia Moore.

After 6,500 residents took advantage of early voting in 2016, a 10-year record, officials don’t expect to see a repeat of those number this year, especially without a Presidential race to help drive turnout.

Voters may vote early at either the Hancock County Courthouse or McCordsville Town Hall, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Residents can also vote early at the Hancock County Public Libraries in Greenfield and New Palestine starting April 28.

Hours at those locations will be 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 28 and May 5, 1 to 4 p.m. on April 29 and May 6 and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays from April 30 to May 3.

Early Voting Locations

Where to vote:

Voters may vote early at either the Hancock County Courthouse or McCordsville Town Hall, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Residents can also vote early at the Hancock County Public Libraries in Greenfield and New Palestine starting on April 28.

Hours at those locations will be 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 28 and May 5, 1 to 4 p.m. on April 29 and May 6 and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays from April 30 to May 3.

Coming up

Still undecided? The Daily Reporter publishes an election guide this weekend with a comprehensive look at the county’s contested races. Find candidate questionnaires, bios, issue stories and coverage of local debates in one convenient special section inside our Saturday edition.

The Daily Reporter has also partnered with Leadership Hancock County to host political debates among candidates in some of the election season’s biggest races. The upcoming events will be held at the Hancock County Public Library, 900 W. McKenzie Road, Greenfield.

7 p.m. Wednesday: Candidates for Hancock Circuit Court judge (Scott Sirk*, D.J. Davis and Scott Wooldridge)

7 p.m. Thursday: Candidates for Hancock County prosecutor (Brent Eaton*, T. Grey Chandler and Bob Elsea)

7 p.m. Monday: Candidates for Hancock County Council (Jim Shelby* and Will Ronan, District 3; Mary Noe and Randy Sorrell*, District 2)

*Denotes incumbent