Update: School referendum passes by 1 point | Alea iacta est: Nov. 7, 2023 election results for Bloomington, Monroe County served when ready

Polls are now closed in Monroe County. The cutoff time was 6 p.m., which made for a 12-hour voting day.

But anyone in line by 6 p.m. has to be allowed to cast a ballot.

[Updated at 9:03 p.m. on Nov. 7, 2023. Based on unofficial results released by the county clerk, the MCCSC referendum passed by a 108-vote margin: 5,229 yes to 5,121 no.  That’s 50.5 percent to 49.5 percent. Here’s the .pdf of unofficial vote totals: Nov. 7, 2023 unofficial vote totals.]

Bloomington voters have elected their next mayor, clerk, and nine city council seats. For 10 of those races, the outcome was already known.

Unopposed on the ballot were Democrats Kerry Thomson for mayor and Nicole Bolden for city clerk.

Also unopposed on the ballot were the following Democrats running for city council: Isabel Piedmont-Smith (District 1); Kate Rosenbarger (District 2); Dave Rollo (District 4); Shruti Rana (District 5); Sydney Zulich (District 6); and Isak Asare, Andy Ruff, and Matt Flaherty (at-large members).

The only contested Bloomington city race was for the District 3 city council seat. Republican Brett Heinisch is vying with Democrat Hopi Stosberg for that spot.

Along with the District 3 results, this piece will be updated below, with results from the Monroe County Community School Corporation referendum, when they are available.

Typically, the results from early in-person voting and mailed-in absentee voting are released first, followed by the Election Day results.

Election Day results typically come in a few different batches corresponding to different polling locations.

Geography is a big factor. There’s some physical distance that has to be covered, when teams from different polling locations across the MCCSC district pack up everything—their ballots, the memory devices from the ballot scanners, and other election documentation—and turn in the whole package to Election Central.

Election Central is in downtown Bloomington, located at 7th and Madison streets in the old Johnson’s Hardware building. That’s where The B Square will remain parked until all results are in.

The B Square will add to this article with time-stamped updates from Election Central until the final unofficial results are in, or otherwise indicated here. Continue reading “Update: School referendum passes by 1 point | Alea iacta est: Nov. 7, 2023 election results for Bloomington, Monroe County served when ready”

Nov. 7 elections set to go for school referendum, Bloomington city races

As of around 7:30 p.m. on Monday night, 22 of the 25 polling places for Election Day on Nov. 7 had checked in with Monroe County election division staff at Election Central to confirm their venues were set for the next day’s voting.

Election Central is the old Johnson’s hardware building at 7th and Madison streets.

Only the polling sites at Tri-North Middle School, Fairview Elementary School, and Burgoon Baptist Church had not yet called in to confirm that their preparations were complete. Their confirmations were expected shortly.

Fielding and making calls to the polling sites were election division staff, as well as Monroe County clerk Nicole Browne. On hand in addition to Browne were the other two election board members, David Henry and Judith Benckart.

The board had recessed its meeting from last Thursday until 5 p.m. on Monday. Their meeting was recessed again on Monday night, to be reconvened at 5 a.m. tomorrow, in advance of the 6 a.m. opening of the polls.

The polls close at 6 p.m.
Continue reading “Nov. 7 elections set to go for school referendum, Bloomington city races”

Election notebook: Same old story, Bloomington voter turnout is one for the ages

It’s the custom of Monroe County clerk Nicole Browne to send out hourly updates over the course of Election Day.

The May 2, 2023 municipal primary was no different. One of Browne’s updates included this note: “I tried to find the oldest voter who has participated in this municipal election…and, so far, she appears to be 99 years young.”

Browne’s update continued: “Her 100th birthday will be this summer and I want to acknowledge her making the concerted effort to vote.”

The B Square has now confirmed—based on the voter history file provided by county election staff—that it was a 99-year-old who was the most senior voter to cast a ballot in person, on Primary Election Day.

But that nonagenarian wasn’t the absolute oldest person to vote in the primary. After expanding the pool to include those who voted early—either in-person or with a mailed-in ballot, it was a 101-year-old living in the Bloomington 22 precinct, who earned the “absolute oldest” distinction.

On the other end of the spectrum was a 17-year-old living in the Perry 15 precinct, who was the youngest to vote in the May 2 primary. She will celebrate her 18th birthday eight days before the Nov. 7 general election. (In Indiana, it’s possible to vote in a primary, if you turn 18 by the time the general election takes place.)

What about all the other voters in between? How old were they? Continue reading “Election notebook: Same old story, Bloomington voter turnout is one for the ages”

Sandberg sets tone for 2023 mayoral campaign with kickoff: “We should restore before we do more.”

On Wednesday, the day after Election Day, current Bloomington city council president Susan Sandberg filed amended paperwork to convert her campaign organization from a mayoral exploratory committee to a campaign committee.

And on Sunday afternoon, Sandberg, a Democrat, kicked off her campaign for mayor with a gathering of about 60 people in one of the indoor shelters at Karst Farm Park.

Another declared candidate for Bloomington mayor in 2023, Democrat Kerry Thomson, will be kicking off her campaign this coming Thursday. Bloomington mayor John Hamilton, also a Democrat, has not yet publicly announced if he will seek re-election to a third term.

Karst Farm Park is a Monroe County government facility, Sandberg acknowledged in her opening remarks. And it was chosen for the kickoff with a specific intent, she said: “One of the things that I know I can bring to the table is a much better working relationship with our colleagues in Monroe County.”

Sandberg’s statement was a reference to the strained relations between Hamilton and the county commissioners. Policy issues where the friction between the two layers of government has been evident include a stalled collaborative effort on the convention center expansion and the location of a new county jail.

On Wednesday this past week, county commissioners invited the mayor to make the next move after voting to establish a capital improvement board to govern the new convention center expansion, contingent on the city council and the mayor’s agreement to its terms.

On the question of the jail location, for this Monday’s (Nov. 14) second city plan commission hearing on a requested rezone by the county government, to allow for jail construction in the southern part of the city, the city planning staff recommendation is now against the rezone. For the first hearing, the planning staff had not given a staff recommendation either way.

Better city-county relations are just one plank of Sandberg’s campaign platform which includes: affordability; safety; collaboration; and basic services. Continue reading “Sandberg sets tone for 2023 mayoral campaign with kickoff: “We should restore before we do more.””

Monroe County election prep continues, Hilton rejected as poll worker training space

Poll workers for Monroe County’s May 3 primary elections won’t be trained at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Instead they’ll learn the ins and outs of working the polls at the county government center in the Showers building on Morton Street, or the new election operations center at 3rd and Walnut streets. That’s the former NAPA building.

When county commissioners came to the $4,880 item on their Wednesday agenda, an early indication that they would not be approving it came from Penny Githens. “I don’t understand why we’re asking county taxpayers to pay close to $5,000 when we have space, I thought, in the Showers building for the training,” Githens said.

Deliberations on the item were continued to a work session following the regular meeting. A $1,000 down payment that was paid to Hilton last fall was eventually determined to be refundable, which cleared the way to a 0–3 vote by commissioners on the item.

The rejection of the county clerk’s request to pay for space at the Hilton Garden Inn can be analyzed as part of ongoing friction between the clerk’s office and the election board over space allocations.

Other election-related items on Wednesday’s agenda won easy approval, including a $200,000 contract with B&L IT Services for a year’s worth of election support services. Deputy clerk Tressia Martin told commissioners that the B&L sets up all the poll sites, handles ADA compliance, ensures internet connectivity, organizes equipment storage, and creates polling location maps and an equipment catalog. Continue reading “Monroe County election prep continues, Hilton rejected as poll worker training space”

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”

Day 1 for candidate filings in Monroe County: Some Hoosier Democrats, Republicans make it official

Publicly announced intentions and exploratory committees are one thing. Official candidate filings are another.

Wednesday was the first day when it was possible to declare an official candidacy for one of the state or county public offices up for election in 2022.

Election Central, at 7th and Madison streets in downtown Bloomington, was not exactly teeming with candidate filing activity through the day on Wednesday.

But by 4 p.m. when the building closed, a dozen and a half candidates had made their way through the doors to the building and on to the registration office, which was marked with signage indicating only “one person at a time” should enter. Continue reading “Day 1 for candidate filings in Monroe County: Some Hoosier Democrats, Republicans make it official”

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”

Long-time election worker retires: “We’re here for one thing. And that’s to make a good election.”

Monroe County’s clerk, Nicole Browne, told The B Square on Thursday afternoon: “There is no replacing a Jack. He is one-of-a-kind. He is amazing. And I will miss him every single day. Every single day.”

Browne was talking about Jack Davis, a county employee whose retirement was marked Thursday at a reception held by his colleagues at Election Central, where he has worked for the election division.

Thursday was the six-year anniversary of Davis’s most recent span of service in local government—he started that half-dozen year stretch on the same day as county election supervisor Karen Wheeler.

But the octogenarian’s history of work for local government can be traced back to way earlier. Continue reading “Long-time election worker retires: “We’re here for one thing. And that’s to make a good election.””

Monroe County election board girds for June 2 in-person primary balloting, but all voters to receive applications to vote by mail

Monroe County’s election board is preparing for the upcoming June 2 primary election by promoting the no-excuse absentee voting option that the state’s election commission has enacted just for this year’s primary.

The June 2 date is a postponement from the originally scheduled May 5 primary. Postponement of the election and no-excuse absentee voting are measures meant to help make the election safer for the voters and election workers.

Voting absentee takes a couple of steps, the first of which is for a voter to submit an application form to request a ballot.

At it’s meeting on  Thursday afternoon, the election board gave a green light to election office staffers to start prepping for a mass mailing, so that all of the county’s roughly 100,000 registered voters will receive a ballot application in the mail. Continue reading “Monroe County election board girds for June 2 in-person primary balloting, but all voters to receive applications to vote by mail”