At 6 a.m. sharp came the announcement from the front door of Monroe County’s election operations building at 3rd and Walnut streets: “Hear ye, hear ye, the polls are now open!”
What democracy sounds like:
In the first half hour of voting, The B Square counted two voters. The polls close at 6 p.m.
Election Operations is the Election Day polling site for just some voters—those who live in the following precincts: Bloomington 3, 7, 22; and Perry 6, 8, 15, 31. Voters can check their assigned polling location on the Indiana Voter Portal.
This year, the local elections include voters who live in the Monroe County Community School Corporation (MCCSC) district, which is most of Monroe County. Voters who live outside of the city of Bloomington will see just one item on their ballots, which is a referendum on an 8.5-cent property tax increase, in order to pay for early childhood education programs.
But the mayor, city clerk and 8 other council seats will be elected on Tuesday as well.
The B Square will update this article with vignettes from different polling locations throughout the day.
07:52 a.m. University Elementary School. Casting ballots here are registered voters in the following precincts: Bloomington 9, 10,11, 16.
Here holding a sign in support of his campaign for Bloomington city council District 3 is Brett Heinisch. He tells the B Square he arrived around 6:30 a.m. Voters have arrived one at a time, but it’s been steady, he says.
The count of voters here is 47.
08:23 a.m. Christ Community Church. Casting ballots here are registered voters in the following precincts: Bloomington 21; Perry 7, 16
The B Square is making the rounds by bicycle this morning. In the space of a five-minute visit, two other cyclists arrived to vote.
The tally so far at this location is 43.
08:31 a.m. Binford Elementary School. Casting ballots here are registered voters in the following precincts: Bloomington 8; Perry 17, 20
It’s just a short hop to Binford from Christ Community Church. So far 40 people have voted here.
08:46 Indiana Memorial Union. Casting ballots here are registered voters in the following precincts: Bloomington 5, 18, 19, 23.
The IMU typically does not handle a lot of voter traffic. Just two voters have cast a ballot here so far.
Someone recognized by The B Square as a member of the convention and visitors commission (CVC) drops by—Mike Campbell. Is he here to vote? No. So what’s he doing here? It’s where he works. Campbell is associate director of the IMU. And he serves on the CVC in that capacity.
09:38 Email update from Monroe County Clerk, Nicole Browne. A according to Browne, 1,574 voters have voted so far today. She also reports that no voters have died since casting an early ballot, which means no early ballots will be disqualified for that reason.
10:38 a.m. Faith Lutheran Church. Casting ballots here are registered voters in the following precincts Perry 14.
The voter tally so far at this polling location is 59, which is less than some other places. But it’s only one precinct, poll workers point out. A Bloomington High School North senior is working the polls as a clerk. The positions are: inspector, judge and clerk.
10:55 Sherwood Oaks Christian Church. Casting ballots here are registered voters in the following precincts: Perry 18, 19, 22.
So far 207 people have voted here. That’s one of the higher vote totals, of the 25 voting locations. Some voters who recently moved here from the East Coast are exchanging pleasantries with election workers—they moved into the house across the street from a place where the election worker used to live.
11:14 a.m. Jackson Creek Middle School. Casting ballots here are registered voters in the following precincts: Perry 4, 11, 23, 28.
The B Square recruits the flag pole as a place to lean a bicycle. The payoff for that location was spotting the lid to a time capsule, which is supposed to be opened in the year 2050.
So far, 181 people have voted here.
11:44 a.m Bloomington High School South. Casting ballots here are registered voters in the following precincts: Perry 9, 10, 12, 13, 32.
On arrival at the west side of the building where voting typically takes place there are a handful of food trucks, with people starting to line up. It turns out that this is for a teacher conference of some kind. The entrance for voters has been moved to the east side of the building facing the Frank Southern Ice Arena.
An older woman with some mobility issues is navigating the stairs with the help of a companion. The election inspector arrives and notes that there’s a ramp—but it’s maybe 100 feet away. The woman opts to take the shorter, but steeper route, and try to be careful with her knee. The inspector says he’s going to make a note about the accessibility issue for the election board.
So far 228 voters have cast a ballot at Bloomington High School South.
12 noon Email update from Monroe County Clerk, Nicole Browne.
Browne reports that as of 12:03 p.m. 3,217 voters have cast ballots since the polls opened this morning. .
The running total of all in-person voters, early and on Election Day, stands at 6,111.
12:10 p.m. Monroe County election operations building. Casting ballots here are registered voters in the following precincts: Bloomington 3, 7, 22; and Perry 6, 8, 15, 31.
This is where The B Square started off the morning. It’s warmer than the 53 F degrees from 6 a.m. The sun is out, lighting up the mostly blue sky. The temperature has hit 70 F degrees.
There’s also way more political activity than earlier. Democratic Party mayoral nominee Kerry Thomson has arrived here on her bicycle. Isak Asare, who is one of the Democratic Party’s nominees for at-large Bloomington city council is also here. Thomson and Asare are recording a Facebook live selfie-style video exhorting people to vote. They’re both unopposed on the ballot.
Thomson kicks out of the video with this:
After you vote, Isak and I want you to participate in our government. We want you at city hall, we want to come to you. And we want you to help us solve problems here. Start with voting and then get engaged even further. Have a great Tuesday!
Isabel Piedmont-Smith arrives. She is an incumbent councilmember and the Democratic Party city council nominee for District 1. Piedmont-Smith is also unopposed on the ballot. Thomson and Asare tell her to go ahead inside the building and vote, so that when she comes out she’ll have an “I voted!” sticker. When she emerges they record another video spot with the three of them.
The Democratic Party will be holding its post election party at The Mill.
13:56 p.m. Bloomington High School North. Casting ballots here are registered voters in the following precincts: Bloomington 4,13, 17.
When The B Square arrived, the tally of voters stood at 168. One person arrived and voted during the visit. The total on The B Square’s departure was 169. The election inspector reported that all the technology had worked smooth.
14:12 p.m. Arlington Heights Elem School. Casting ballots here are registered voters in the following precincts: Bloomington 14, 15, 24.
So far 108 people have voted here. According to the election workers here, maybe four or five people arrived here to vote but it was not their assigned voting location. All of them were supposed to vote at Bloomington High School North. The distance was not that far to cover to the correct location.
14:28 p.m. Tri-North Middle School. Casting ballots here are registered voters in the following precincts: Bloomington 2.
Poll workers are passing the time reading books. These are actual books with paper and bindings, not electronic tablets. Here’s some titles: “Chasing the Light”, “Desert Star”, and “Changing World Order.”
So far 43 people have voted here. One reason the vote total is low here is that only one precinct feeds into this location. Inside the school, the voting stations are set up in the gym. A quote from Coach Boddie is written on the wall: “Yes, we can!” The election inspector knows the coach—they both attend 2nd Baptist Church. On the way to the next polling station, The B Square pedals past 2nd Baptist. The marquee reads: “Live your life in peace, not in pieces.”
14:50 p.m. Fairview Elementary School. Casting ballots here are registered voters in the following precincts: Bloomington 1, 6, 20.
So far 122 people have voted here. As The B Square pedals up, a voter who’s emerging from the school hops on his bicycle and leaves. Another cyclist arrives and assesses the absence of any visible racks where she can lock up her bicycle.. The B Square volunteers to watch her bicycle while she votes. In the few minutes it takes her to vote, there are no threats of theft that require intervention.
The election workers inside say it’s been a normal election day with the standard range of issues. One of those is voters who arrive at the wrong voting location. The electronic poll books that Monroe County uses are equipped with mapping software. If a voter presents themselves at an incorrect voting location, if they choose to provide their phone number, the electronic poll book will text them directions from the their current location to the correct voting location. The Fairview Elementary workers report having used that poll book feature today.
15:24 p.m. Email update from Monroe County Clerk, Nicole Browne. Clerk Browne’s most recent update indicates that 4,956 voters have cast a ballot today.
17:16 p.m. Email update from Monroe County Clerk, Nicole Browne. Clerk Browne’s most recent email indicates 6,320 voters have cast ballots today. The oldest voter who has cast a ballot and it appears to be man born in 1932, making him 91 years old.