Early voters set record


HANCOCK COUNTY — Terry Haston left the Hancock County Courthouse Monday morning with a warning for the people still standing in line: it’s going to be at least an hour, he told voters — and that’s just to get to the doors.

At that time, the line of residents waiting to vote wrapped around the east side of the building.

Monday morning brought throngs of voters casting ballots before Election Day, setting a record for ballots cast in Hancock County in the days leading up to a general election.

More than 24,000 ballots, accounting for 42.7 percent of registered Hancock County voters, were cast at five early vote centers between Oct. 12 and Monday, election office records show.

That’s more than triple the number of early county voters presidential elections in 2008 and 2012 saw.

Hancock County Clerk Marcia Moore said early voting is becoming more popular with each election that passes. Residents like having multiple days and locations, she said.

Haston, of Greenfield, said he didn’t expect to wait in line to vote for more than a half hour Monday morning. He said he expected to see a short line but thought it would move fairly quickly.

He and his wife had a busy day planned for Tuesday and wanted to vote Monday, when they had a less hectic schedule.

Even though they spent an hour at the courthouse, they were happy to cast ballots in favor of the candidates they say best represent them, Haston said.

“It was worth it,” he said.

When Greenfield resident Amanda Magallanes showed up to the courthouse just after 10 a.m., she was surprised to see so many people waiting. The line stretched nearly to the courthouse plaza.

She votes in every election and had a babysitter for her children Monday morning, so it was the perfect opportunity to perform her civic duty.

So she was prepared to wait, no matter how long it took.

“I’m going to get it out of the way,” she said. “I knew it would be worse tomorrow.”

Moore said she is pleased with the high early voting numbers.

Since October, her office has been pushing early voting, even sending out two mailers advertising vote centers open for early voting.

She suspects voters who haven’t cast ballots yet will still be greeted by lines at various vote centers Tuesday.

On average, about 38,000 voters cast ballots during presidential elections in Hancock County, and election officials expect to see higher voter turnout this year because the presidential race is so hotly contested.

That means vote centers likely will be busy, with a steady flow of voters coming in and out all day, Moore said, especially because there are residents who want to vote only on Election Day.

In Greenfield, she suggested residents consider voting at the fairgrounds, 620 N. Apple St., a vote center that’s underutilized but has plenty of parking.

“Be willing to stand in a line. It’s still a process,” she advised Tuesday voters. “We’ll get people through as quickly as we can.”

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If you’re planning to vote, don’t forget a photo ID, such as an Indiana driver’s license or passport, with your name.

You’ll be required to show photo ID before you’re given a ballot.

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Stay with the Daily Reporter throughout the day Tuesday and as election results come in that night.

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See Wednesday’s edition of the Daily Reporter for election results for local, state and national races.

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