Monroe County 2022 Election Day: Polls are OPEN

Clear skies early Election Day morning around 5 a.m. meant the “blood moon” from the lunar eclipse was on full display against the western sky behind the Monroe County courthouse dome.

An hour later, a couple blocks south of the courthouse at 3rd and Walnut streets, around a dozen people were standing in line, waiting for the door to the election operations center to open.

The official opening of the polls was set for 6 a.m. The door opened about six minutes later than that, with the traditional “Hear ye, hear ye, the polls are open!”

That was followed by a quick apology for the delay and some news that disappointed some voters who were standing in line: Voters could check in, but there were no ballots yet. The B Square saw one voter leave on hearing that news.

It took a few minutes to sort out the confusion. Election board member Donovan Garletts called The B Square to report that the ballots were in the locked ballot room, but election workers on site did not have a key. Once the key was tracked down, the ballots needed for that voting location were available.

A voter who left the polling site about ten minutes later, saying that there were no ballots, might have simply been in the wrong voting location. Garletts said one voter from Benton Township had wanted to vote at the 3rd and Walnut, shortly after the polling location opened—but that location is not supposed to have ballots for the Benton Township precinct.

Benton is not among the seven different precincts that vote at the 3rd and Walnut location: Bloomington 3, Bloomington 7, Bloomington 22, Perry 6, Perry 8, Perry 15, Perry 31.

According to Monroe County clerk Nicole Browne’s 7 a.m. update, 62 people voted at the 3rd and Walnut location in the first hour.

Monroe County has set up an interactive map where voters can find the location where they are supposed to vote.

Statewide results will be available on the secretary of state’s website.

06:25 Election Operations, 302 S. Walnut St. Campaigns represented here to start off the day include: the MCCSC referendum; Nathan Williamson (R) and Ruben Marté (D) for county sheriff; and Emily Salzmann (D) for judge. Salzmann is competing with Carl Lamb (R) for a spot on the circuit court bench.

Representing the MCCSC referendum is Vanessa McClary. Holding a sign for the Williamson campaign is Karin Davis, a family friend. For Marté, it’s Barry Grooms, who works at the county jail. Isak Asare, a Democratic primary candidate for the 9th District congressional seat, is holding a sign for Salzmann.

08:00 a.m. Update from Monroe County clerk Nicole Browne. Via email the clerk reports: “As of 8:00 this morning, we have a few polling locations that have already voted over 200 voters.  Those would be Ellettsville Christian Church with 214 voters, Southside Christian Church with 254 voters and St. John’s Catholic Church with 276 voters.  Great start to the morning.”

09:00 a.m. Update from Monroe County clerk Nicole Browne. More than 5,500 voters have turned out since the polls opened at 6:00. Let’s keep that momentum going. The polling sites with the least voter turnout is Burgoon Baptist Church with 20 voters and the Indiana Memorial Union with 18 voters. I think we can do better.”

09:17 a.m. Fairview Elementary School, 500 W. 7th St. Three precincts use the school with iconic cat sculpture as a voting location: Bloomington 1, Bloomington 6, Bloomington 20. Election workers report that 57 have voted, but three more are in the voting booths. No candidates are outside working this polling location, but the cat sculpture is surrounded by campaign signs.

Fairview Elementary School, looking north at the intersection of 7th and Rogers streets. (Nov. 8, 2022)

10:00 a.m. Update from Monroe County clerk Nicole Browne. Browne’s email message says: “I was asked for the top three locations with respect to voter turnout on Election Day…here you go! St. John’s with 591 voters. They report that they are processing an average of 146 voters/hour. Southside Christian Church with 577 voters. Ellettsville Christian Church with 514 voters.”

12:08 p.m. Bloomington High School South, 1965 S. Walnut St According to a poll worker who has staffed the Bloomington South location for the last decade, this is the first time the location has broken 600. His tally so far is 604.

Several campaigns are represented by people holding signs. Angie Purdie, who ran in the Democratic Party primary for county sheriff, is supporting Ruben Marté (D) for sheriff in the general election. Supporting Republican Nathan Williamson for sheriff is his brother Matthew Williamson.

Beth Clawson, a friend of Ashley Pirani, is supporting Pirani for MCSCC school board. Clawson has school-age kids, one of whom attends Bloomington High School North. Holding a sign for Daniel O’Neil, who’s competing for the same school board seat at Pirani, is Pam Gunkel, a retired teacher, who watched O’Neil grow up in her neighborhood.

Supporting Dave Hall (R) in his race for House District 62 is Ethan Wright, who’s an Indiana University senior, who’ll be joining the US Air Force after he graduates next year. Supporting Hall’s opponent, Democrat Penny Githens, is Carolyn Craig. She said she’d supporting Githens in part because, “I’m a Democrat.”

Paul George, is here with Buddy, the family dog, who is wearing a shirt in support of Emily Salzmannn for circuit court judge. George is Salzmann’s father. Nikola Budosva, who is a lawyer in Slovakia, here on a legal internship, is holding a sign for Carl Lamb (R), who is competing for the same circuit court seat as Salzmann.

Holding a sign for the MCCSC referendum is Susie Shelton, who has taught English and Latin at Bloomington High School South for 22 years. Shelton confirms that The B Square’s use of the phrase “Alea iacta est”—for headlines announcing the polls have closed—is good Latin. It’s the phrase Julius Caesar is supposed to have said when he led his army across the Rubicon river in Northern Italy. Shelton said it translates as something like “What’s done is done.”

13:00 p.m. Update from Monroe County clerk Nicole Browne. Browne’s update reads: “As of 1:00…13,248 voters have gone to the polls since the polls opened this morning. We’re getting close to the number of voters turning out on Election Day exceeding the number of voters who turned out during Early/Absentee voting.

13:38 p.m. Bloomington High School North, 3901 N. Kinser Pike So far 352 people have voted at this location. Just three precincts vote at this location, compared to five precincts at Bloomington High School South.

At this polling site, the Josefa Madrigal is here holding a sign for Ruben Marté (D), who is competing for county sheriff against Nathan Williamson (R). It’s the only campaign with anyone here live in person right now.

Madrigal works for the city of Bloomington, and as a part of her job provides staff support to the commission on Hispanic and Latino Affairs, on which Marté serves. Madrigal said she was impressed by Marté’s hosting of a community event that aimed to bridge the gap between the police—he’s a captain in the Indiana State Police—and the Spanish-speaking community.

The parking lot is mostly full, because there’s a professional development event for MCCSC teachers here today. So there’s someone meeting cars as they enter the general area pointing out spaces near the school where people can park.

15:00 p.m. Update from Monroe County clerk Nicole Browne. Browne reports “As of 3 p.m. 16,962 voters have cast an Election Day ballot.”

15:15 p.m. Analysis by The B Square. Added with estimated early voting numbers (in-person and write-in) of 17,900, the clerk’s update though 3 p.m. puts the rough number of voters so far this year at around 35,000.

That’s less than the roughly 52,000 Monroe County voters who participated in the most recent mid-term election, in 2018.  Through the first nine hours of voting on Election Day, the pace of voting across the county has been about 1,988 voter per hour. If that holds steady through the final three hours of voting, that would add around 6,000 voters, for an estimated Election Day total in 2022 of around 41,000, still short of the 2018 turnout.

One thought on “Monroe County 2022 Election Day: Polls are OPEN

  1. I was about 5th in line at Bloomington High School North, around 11AM. I wish they’d delayed using that polling location until after the Dunn Street multi-use path was completed. I biked on the bypass to Kinser Pike and north to the school, and that is not a route for a faint of heart.

Comments are closed.