Early voting for May 2, 2023 municipal primary starts, traditions observed

On Tuesday morning at 8 o’clock sharp, Monroe County clerk Nicole Browne opened the door to the election operations center at 4th and Walnut streets and called out: “Hear ye, hear ye, the polls are now open!”

That’s how in-person early voting kicked off this year for the May 2 primary elections in Monroe County.

Bloomington voters will be electing party nominees for mayor, clerk, and nine city council seats. Ellettsville voters will elect party nominees for clerk/treasurer and town council.

“Hear ye, Hear ye, the polls are now open!”

Browne’s traditional proclamation is a requirement of state law, which says the announcement about the start of voting must be made to people waiting outside the polls “in a loud tone of voice.”  Browne said it was her “substitute teacher’s voice.”

Browne was also the first person to cast a ballot, a tradition she observes as a way to test the procedures. If something goes wrong for the first voter, Browne wants it to be her.

Four others quickly followed Browne, but the half hour after polls opened was quiet.

The in-person early voting hours for Monroe County go from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The schedule of days looks like this:

Monroe County Early Voting Schedule

April 4 – April 6 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
April 10 – April 14 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
April 17 – April 21 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
April 22 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
April 24 – April 28 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
April 29 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
May 1 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.