Photo: Noah Coffey (Flickr)
Elections officials across Indiana are reporting significant early voter turnout this election. A quick sampling of turnout in Marion, Hamilton, Johnson, Allen and Vanderburgh counties voters are taking advantage of early voting.
Marion County Clerk Beth White says they are seeing double the amount of absentee ballots in this election compared to 2007. White estimates roughly 19,000 early votes have been cast, and she predicts the race for Indianapolis mayor will be close.
Hamilton County Election Administrator Kathy Richardson says about 1,500 people voted early for this municipal election, with more than 800 of them being walk-ins. Richardson says mayoral races in Westfield & Noblesville and smaller races in Fishers and elsewhere are the reasons. Still, Richardson is hoping for 20-percent turnout Tuesday.
“I think we only had about 14 percent in the primary. So probably 20 percent would be a pretty reasonable expectation for this election,” she says.
In Vanderburgh County, County Clerk Susan Kirk says early voting at several libraries boosted turnout to about 9,000. Kirk says the race for Evansville mayor brought early voters out. Kirk implemented early voting four years ago and says the numbers have steadily grown.
Johnson County reports about 1,300 early ballots cast. Mayoral races in Greenwood & Franklin and town council contests brought those folks out.
And in Allen County, which includes Fort Wayne, Elections Director Beth Dlug says early turnout is way up. She says about 1,500 more people voted early this time around compared to the last municipal election. She says walk-ins and mail in ballots topped 6,500. Despite that, Dlug sees no correlation in municipal races between early voting and turnout on Election Day.
“We try to see if there‘s possibly a correlation between an increase in early voting and at the polls, but we just haven‘t found that to be the case,” she says. “It‘s just that people who are inclined to vote are taking advantage of the early voting opportunities more often.”