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.
Monroe County election board met in the Nat U. Hill Room on Jun 10, 2022.
Looking northwest at 3rd and Walnut streets May 25, 2022. From left: Monroe County convention center (background); election operations building (foreground); and 4th Street parking garage. (May 25, 2022)
At its regular monthly meeting on Thursday, the Monroe County election board handled some routine business for the recent primary election cycle: appeals on fines for late paperwork.
On Thursday, just one of the cases got action from the three-member board
That was due in part to the fact that last week’s meeting was canceled and rescheduled for this week—without notice to the late filers that the hearing would be this week instead. That meant that the board could hear only the cases of the late filers who happened to attend on Thursday.
In the one case where the board took action, the board waived the fine as a first offense, which is the board’s typical approach to late filings.
So far, since the May 3 primary, the planned location of election operations for the 2023 municipal cycle has not been a topic of discussion for the election board.
Preparations continue for the May 3 primary elections in Monroe County.
Twenty-nine polling sites were approved by Monroe County’s board of commissioners at their regular Wednesday morning meeting.
The approved sites are mostly the same locations that have been used in the past. Among the sites that are not on the list this year is Genesis Church. A new polling site this year is Bloomington High School North.
Information about which precincts vote at which polling sites will be forthcoming, deputy county clerk Tressia Martin told commissioners.
Also approved by commissioners on Wednesday were several items related to the creation of an early in-person voting site in downtown Bloomington.
View looking southwest from the top of the 4th Street parking garage. In the foreground is the former NAPA building.
NAPA building interior.
B Square file photo of early voting for the 2020 general election at Election Central.
B Square file photo of Election Central in the old Johnson Hardware building on the corner of 7th and Madison streets.
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.