Early voting wraps up in Monroe County, polls open on Election Day at 6 a.m.

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. Continue reading “Early voting wraps up in Monroe County, polls open on Election Day at 6 a.m.”

Early voting in Monroe County continues to trail 2018 turnout, election day workers still needed

At Thursday afternoon’s meeting of the Monroe County election board, county clerk Nicole Browne reported to her colleagues that she was “a little disheartened” about the early voting turnout so far for the Nov. 8 election.

Election supervisor Karen Wheeler confirmed that the early voting numbers this year are still lagging well behind the numbers for the last midterm year in 2018.

In 2018, about 24,500 people voted early—the combined total for absentee mailed-in ballots and in-person votes. That’s based on the early vote totals in the race for US Senate.

Wheeler also said at Thursday’s election board meeting that she still needs election day poll workers from both parties. Continue reading “Early voting in Monroe County continues to trail 2018 turnout, election day workers still needed”

Election 2022 notebook: Early voting pace in Monroe County looks slower than for 2018

Turnout for this year’s midterm elections would be expected to be lower than in 2020, a presidential election year.

But this year’s early voting numbers for Monroe County look like they could be also lagging behind the midterm numbers from last time around in 2018.

In 2018, about 24,500 people voted early—the combined total for absentee mailed-in ballots and in-person votes. That was nearly half of the 52,000 people who participated in the 2018 elections.

A back-of-the napkin estimate for this year’s early voting numbers—based on in-person totals so far, and the absentee mail-in ballots returned so far—would be around 16,000. Continue reading “Election 2022 notebook: Early voting pace in Monroe County looks slower than for 2018”

Election notebook: Monroe County early voting picks up pace, still way slower than presidential year

The historical pattern across the county is for midterm elections to generate less voter turnout than elections that are held in presidential years.

In Monroe County, Indiana, that’s the pattern for early in-person voting so far, after almost two week’s worth of early voting.

In 2020, for most days of the in-person early voting period, over 1,000 people stood in line to vote at the old Johnson’s Hardware building (aka Election Central) at 7th and Madison streets.

This year, though the first nine days of voting, the daily total has nudged past 500 just once—this week on Monday. Continue reading “Election notebook: Monroe County early voting picks up pace, still way slower than presidential year”

Early election notebook: Three days of in-person early voting

Through about 1:30 p.m. on Friday, 863 people had cast an early in-person ballot in Monroe County for the Nov. 8 elections.

Early in-person voting started on Wednesday morning at Monroe County’s election operations center at 3rd and Walnut streets.

For the first week of early voting, from Monroe County election supervisor Karen Wheeler, here are the daily tallies: 319 (Oct. 12); 348 (Oct. 13); 196 (Oct. 14 with 4.5 hours to go). The total for the first three days was probably around 1,000.

With 18 days left during the early-voting period, the current pace would project out to about 7,000 voters. But that pace is expected to increase.

In 2018, when the most recent midterm election was held, a total of 24,589 early in-person and absentee votes were recorded in Monroe County. Continue reading “Early election notebook: Three days of in-person early voting”

Hear ye, hear ye: Early voting starts in Monroe County, Indiana

3rd and Walnut in downtown Bloomington (Oct. 12, 2022)

At 8 a.m. sharp on Wednesday, Monroe County clerk Nicole Browne opened the door at the new election operations center at 3rd and Walnut streets in downtown Bloomington and proclaimed: “Hear ye, hear ye, the polls are now open!”

That’s how in-person early voting started in Monroe County, Indiana.

About a half dozen people were standing in line waiting for the polls to open. Signs for several of the local candidates for office had been placed to be visible to motorists on Walnut and 3rd streets.

The building’s newly installed canopy sheltered people standing in line from a light mist. The temperature was around 60 F degrees.

An orange painted line arced across the parking lot, to mark the 50-foot boundary from the entrance. No campaigning can take place within 50 feet of a polling place. Continue reading “Hear ye, hear ye: Early voting starts in Monroe County, Indiana”

Former NAPA building gets Comcast internet connection as in-person early voting looms

An Xfinity service truck heads north on Walnut at 3rd Street on Feb. 2, 2022 after exiting from the former NAPA parking lot, which is out of the frame to the right. The downtown transit center is visible in the left of the photo.

Last Thursday (Jan. 27), Monroe County’s election board voted to make the former NAPA building at the corner of 3rd and Walnut streets the location of early in-person voting for 2022 elections.

On Wednesday morning, the three-member board of county commissioners voted to approve a contract with Comcast for the needed internet connectivity, to make it possible to run elections out of the currently vacant building.

According to the background information in the meeting information packet, the initial fee is $119.95 with a monthly recurring fee of $190 for 1G/35 Mbps service. Continue reading “Former NAPA building gets Comcast internet connection as in-person early voting looms”

Election board: Former NAPA building to be used for early, in-person voting in Monroe County

In 2022, Monroe County’s in-person early voting will take place at the former NAPA building on the southwest corner of 3rd and Walnut streets in downtown Bloomington. That’s for the the primary and general elections alike.

There’s still a chance that some early in-person ballots could also be cast at Election Central, in the old Johnson Hardware building at 7th and Madison streets. But that will depend on recruitment of enough election workers to staff both locations.

The use of the NAPA building as an in-person early voting location was approved by a unanimous vote of the county’s three-person election board at its Thursday session.

For the final two weeks of the four-week early voting period, Election Central could be added as an in-person location, but only if an adequate number of election workers can be recruited.

Monroe County election supervisor Karen Wheeler called on potential poll workers to step up. Some past workers are now in their upper 80s or over 90 years old, she said. In the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wheeler does not feel comfortable asking them to work this year.

For basic background on pay and election worker requirements, the county election division has set up a webpage: web page for poll workers. The contact phone number for potential election workers is 812-349-2690. Email messages can be sent to election [at] co.monroe.in.us Continue reading “Election board: Former NAPA building to be used for early, in-person voting in Monroe County”

Election division physical space needs: County officials meet again this week, open house scheduled

On the Wednesday morning regular meeting agenda of the Monroe County commissioners is a resolution that will establish a committee to handle the review of voting precincts and districts in light of the 2020 US Census results.

As significant as that action is, it’s not the main election news for this week in Monroe County.

On Wednesday (Sept. 1), the county commissioners will hear from county clerk Nicole Browne for the fourth time in as many weeks on the topic of space needs for the election division. The elections division is currently housed on the first floor of the old Johnson Hardware building at Madison and 7th streets. The building is known as Election Central.

Browne has told commissioners that space requirements for year-round election work and early voting point to allocation of the whole building to elections. That includes the second floor, which is currently home to the county’s probation department.

At each of the Aug. 18 and Aug. 25 regular meetings of the commissioners, at least half dozen people, all with a fair amount of community clout, spoke in support of Browne’s request. Among them were two clerks from other Indiana counties. Continue reading “Election division physical space needs: County officials meet again this week, open house scheduled”

Early voting in Monroe County wraps up with nearly 23K ballots marked, a few hundred snacks munched

At noon on Monday morning, the line of early in-person voters at Election Central in downtown Bloomington still wrapped three-quarters of the way around the block.

Standing near the line, on Rogers Street just north of 6th Street, next to a cooler with snacks and bottled water, was Lisa McCune.

She’s known as the “snack lady” to the regular crew of candidates and their supporters who’ve been standing holding their signs at the corner of 7th and Madison streets through the four weeks of early voting. Early voting ended at noon on Monday.

McCune said the inspiration for distributing snacks came when she cast her own ballot and she was waiting in line to vote near Rogers and 6th streets, about the same spot where she had her cooler set up on Monday: “I was standing right about here a couple weeks ago. And I said, I got a headache. I wish I’d brought a water. I wish I’d brought a snack. Everybody in this line is probably thinking the same thing.”

So off McCune went to Sam’s Club. And she returned on the following days to distribute her bits of cheer to voters.

McCune told The Square Beacon she’d lived in Bloomington “forever”—which means she arrived here from Mishawaka in 1972 and earned a degree in linguistics and Spanish at Indiana University.

On the final day of early in-person voting, 719 people cast their ballots. That was a low for a daily total over the four week period, but that was because voting ended at noon. That meant just four hours of voting on Monday. Measured by through-put, the 180 voters per hour on Monday was the maximum achieved on any day during early voting.

Monday’s tally brought the total of in-person early votes to 22,881. Added to the 13,843 absentee ballots that had been received by the start of the day on Monday, that makes 35,794 confirmed early votes, with another 1,100 mail-in ballots still outstanding. Continue reading “Early voting in Monroe County wraps up with nearly 23K ballots marked, a few hundred snacks munched”