Early voting in Monroe County for the Nov. 8 election is now over.
Closing at noon on Monday were the polls at the election operations building at 3rd and Walnut streets in downtown Bloomington.
Voting hours for Election Day, at assigned polling locations throughout the county, extend from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The pace of early in-person voting in Monroe County has increased by a lot in the final week before the Tuesday Nov. 8 election.
The increased early-voting numbers were evident on Monday. For much of the morning, a line of voters wrapped around the north end of the election operations building.
At around 11:45, which was 15 minutes before the polls closed, The B Square counted around 40 people standing in line outside. Sunny skies and a temperature in the low 60s meant the wait was not as unpleasant as it might have been.
The line moved pretty fast. In the four hours of early voting on Tuesday, from 8 a.m. to noon, 977 people were able to cast a ballot. That works out to 244 voters an hour, the highest voter throughput for any day during this year’s early voting period, or for the presidential election in 2020.
The throughput was better at least in part due to more voting stations. There are 60 voting booths in the new election operations building. That’s five times the number at the the former early in-person voting location at 7th and Madison streets.
On Monday, when the clock on her smartphone showed noon, election supervisor Karen Wheeler had posted herself at the end of the line, which stretched to the 3rd Street side of the building. She was there to ensure that anyone already in line at that time would still be able to vote on Monday.
But Wheeler had disappointing news for anyone who wanted to queue up after noon: The polls closed at noon.
A few minutes before noon, a man who was already in line told Wheeler he was just there to hold a spot for his 86-year-old mother who was waiting in the car. He checked with Wheeler: Did his mom herself have to be standing in the line before the noon cutoff? Wheeler told him to go get his mom—Wheeler would just move her to the front of the line.
The total of around 14,000 early in-person voters, when added to the 3,829 mail-in absentee ballots that could be turned in, makes for about 17,900 early voters this year. Despite the increased pace in the final days, that’s still just about 75 percent of the number who voted early in 2018, the last midterm election cycle.
At 5 p.m. on Monday, the three-member Monroe County election board is set to meet, to take calls from election inspectors at the county’s polling sites. Inspectors are supposed to confirm that their polling sites are ready to open at 6 a.m. on Tuesday.
For voters who are unsure where they are supposed to vote on Election Day, the county has created an interactive map. Find where you live on the map (that is, the address where you’re registered to vote) and click. A window will pop up and will tell you where you’re supposed to vote on Election Day.