Early voting swamps total from last midterm election

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GREENFIELD — With Election Day five days away, more than 10,000 Hancock County residents have already voted, doubling the early turnout in the last midterm election four years ago.

Indiana’s U.S. Senate race, an engaged voter base and convenience have contributed to the upward trend of voting early, Hancock County’s clerk and party officials say. As of 3:15 p.m. Wednesday, 10,071 of the county’s approximately 54,000 registered voters had cast early ballots. Early voting will continue over the weekend and end at noon on Monday.

Hancock County Clerk Marcia Moore said the number of early voters this year is comparable to a presidential election. In 2016, more than 25,000 people voted early.

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Moore said she expects total turnout this year to be similar to the midterm in 2010, when about 23,000 voted, according to the Indiana secretary of state’s office.

Only 14,464 residents — or 28 percent of registered voters — turned out for the 2014 midterm election, when Hancock County launched vote centers, replacing precinct locations. About 3,800 people voted early.

James Wilson voted at the Hancock County Public Library in Greenfield on Monday afternoon, the first time he’s voted prior to Election Day. The Greenfield resident said he wanted to avoid the long lines on Nov. 6. The library’s vote center, however, had a line that stretched across the building’s atrium for much of the afternoon. Nonetheless, Wilson said voting early is much more convenient than on Election Day.

“There could be 6 feet of snow (on Election Day),” Wilson said.

Debi Reed, of New Palestine, first voted early during the 2016 presidential election. Reed said she’s “very motivated” to vote for a slate of candidates in the midterm election.

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Reed said.

Indiana’s U.S. Senate race between Republican Mike Braun and Democrat Joe Donnelly is one of the most-watched races in the country. The most recent poll, by Cygnal, states 49 percent of likely voters will choose Braun, while 46 percent support Donnelly. The poll’s margin of error is 4.36 percentage points, making the race essentially a dead heat.

The race has also drawn much national interest. President Donald Trump is campaigning for Braun in Indianapolis on Friday and Fort Wayne on Monday. Former President Barack Obama plans to support Donnelly at a rally on Sunday in Gary.

Janice Silvey, chair of the Hancock County Republican Party, said while the Senate race could pull more people to this year’s election, convenience of early voting is more on the minds of local voters.

“I’ve heard a lot of people say they want to vote early,” she said, “They know how they’re going to vote; they just want to be done.”

Randy Johnson, chair of the Hancock County Democratic Party and candidate for Hancock County Council District 3, said he’s noticed an increased attention in races, from local to national politics.

“It’s wonderful to get the interest,” Johnson said.

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Hancock County early vote centers

Hancock County Courthouse, 9 E. Main St., Greenfield

McCordsville Town Hall, 6280 W. 800 North, McCordsville

8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and Friday

8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday

8 a.m. to noon Monday

 

Hancock County Public Library-Greenfield, 900 W. McKenzie Road

Hancock County Public Library-Sugar Creek Branch, 5087 W. U.S. 52

1-6 p.m. today and Friday

8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday

1-4 p.m. Sunday

 

Source: Hancock County Election Office

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