Column: Extra! Extra! Early voting, Little 500!

Today (Saturday April 22), walk-in early voters for this year’s May 2 municipal elections can cast a ballot at the election operations center at 3rd and Walnut streets. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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.

Also today at 2 p.m., riders in this year’s edition of the Little 500 bicycle race will roll off the start line at Bill Armstrong Stadium on the Indiana University campus. You can also watch the drama unfold on the university’s live stream.

Early voting numbers this year look like they could be on a pace that’s a little bit ahead of the 2019 primary participation.

Based on numbers from the county election division, around 1,110 walk-ins have cast a ballot so far this year. Added to the 413 requested absentee ballots that have been mailed out to voters, that would make for about 1,500 early voters so far.

Walk-in numbers have been averaging over 100 a day the last five days. With 8 days of early voting left, the numbers might reasonably project to land somewhere around at least 2,500 early votes.

In the 2019 municipal primary, around 2,000 ballots were cast early, either by mail or by walk-ins. In the 2019 primary, total participation was around 5,000 voters.

That means this year’s early vote tally is probably on track to be a bit ahead of the total for the last election cycle—even if it’s not exactly breaking away.

Here’s one reason to go to the polls: If you cast a ballot in the primary, your name will be recorded for the public record as someone who voted. You will get historical credit for helping to make democracy work in our town. Anyone will be able to look it up and confirm.

Without voters, democracy just doesn’t happen. Of course, voters don’t have starring roles, like the candidates. Voters are more like extras in a crowd scene from a movie.

Still, a crowd scene in a movie doesn’t work without extras. If you don’t have a starring role, but you want to be in the movie, you can show up to the call for extras.

Just show up. Like the guy in the red circle.

Back in 1978, the guy in the red circle just showed up to the casting call for extras to make “Breaking Away.” That’s the famous movie about the Little 500 bicycle race.

And now that guy’s participation, and contribution to that movie, is recorded for the historical record. He’s in the movie. And he’s not just standing there—he’s fully immersed in his character, clapping like he’s supposed to.

I managed to track down that guy in the red circle. It turns out he still lives in Bloomington. His name is Mark Kruzan.

Because he showed up to that casting call for extras, he will not be recorded in history as: Mark Kruzan, yet another guy from Bloomington, Indiana. Instead, he’ll be: Mark Kruzan, from the crowd scene in the movie “Breaking Away.”

If you want to be in the movie, you gotta show up to the casting call.

If you want to help democracy work, you gotta cast a ballot.

[Yes, I do know that Mark Kruzan served as mayor of Bloomington from 2004 through 2015.]

One thought on “Column: Extra! Extra! Early voting, Little 500!

  1. I remember it well. I was there the same day. Here they were looking for extras to fill the crown so me and a couple buddies went out and made it in the movie. Tons of fun.

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