May 3, 2022: Polls now open in Monroe County

At 6 a.m. sharp on Tuesday, a Monroe County election worker opened the door from inside the blue building at the corner of 3rd and Walnut streets: “The polls are now open! Come on in!” [raw audio of polls opening announcement]

black and white photo of A-frame Vote Here sign in a parking lot in front of a building.
Monroe County election operations (6 a.m. Tuesday May 3, 2022).

No voters were standing in line at the time.

It’s the former NAPA building, which now serves as Monroe County’s voting operations facility.

Although during early voting, voters countywide could cast a ballot at the voting operations building, only voters from seven different precincts can vote there on Election Day: Bloomington 03, Bloomington 07, Bloomington 22, and Perry 06, Perry 08, Perry 15, and Perry  31.

Voters who are trying to sort out where to vote can start at the secretary of state’s voter portal. On that web page, the link for “Voting Location” is in the row of blue boxes.

Voting ends at 6 p.m.

The B Square will file any reports through the day from different polling sites as updates to this article. Continue reading “May 3, 2022: Polls now open in Monroe County”

Monroe County in final stages of primary election prep, poll workers get thanks

 

At Election Central on Monday evening, Monroe County’s three-member election board re-convened from its recessed meeting on Thursday, to be on hand for any last-minute board decisions that might have been needed.

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

Deputy county clerk Tressia Martin was fielding calls from polling locations to confirm that the polls were set up for Tuesday morning’s 6 a.m. start. While the B Square was there, no board decisions needed to be made.

As of around 6 p.m. on Monday evening, 11 of the 28 polling locations had reported in as ready to go. Continue reading “Monroe County in final stages of primary election prep, poll workers get thanks”

Political notebook: 19 contested precinct “committeeman” races for Monroe Democrats

Among the recent filings for the 2022 elections were 84 declarations by local Democrats for a position that is called “precinct committeeman” in the Hoosier state’s election law.

A precinct is the smallest geographic political boundary area. Generally, other areas—from congressional districts to city council districts—use precincts as their basic building blocks. There are 82 precincts in Monroe County.

No Republicans filed for the position of precinct committeeman this year.

That’s not a scandal. Republicans elect their committeemen on a different four-year cycle. The selection of Republican committeemen will come in 2024.

This year’s Democratic Party filings for precinct committeeman cover 59 out of the county’s 82 precincts. These positions are known as “precinct chairs” for the Dems.

That translates into several contested races—19 of them, in fact. One of the races for precinct chair includes four candidates.

The deadline for withdrawal from a race passed last Friday at noon, so the ballots should reflect all those contested races, when they’re made available for public inspection by the election division on Feb. 18.

Is the sheer number of 19 contested races for Democratic Party precinct chairs remarkable? If so, what, if anything, explains it? Continue reading “Political notebook: 19 contested precinct “committeeman” races for Monroe Democrats”

Opinion: Bloomington city council should appoint a youth advisor, if it wants to keep pace with the GOP

A week before Christmas, both major political parties made local news with their caucuses.

Republicans elected 18-year-old Taylor Bryant as Monroe County Republican Party chair. Bryant became the youngest county chair ever for Monroe County and probably the state of Indiana.

At their caucus, Democrats chose Jennifer Crossley as a county councilor to replace Eric Spoonmore, who resigned. That made Crossley the first Black woman to serve on the county’s fiscal body.

Crossley’s age was not mentioned in any story that I saw reported by local news outlets. And why would it be? Even if Crossley is more than twice Bryant’s age (only by a smidgen), that’s true of most, if not all, elected officials in Monroe County.

Still, Crossley fits into a story about the age of local elected Democrats. Continue reading “Opinion: Bloomington city council should appoint a youth advisor, if it wants to keep pace with the GOP”

Outgoing Monroe County GOP chair on election of youngest party leader in Hoosier state: “Taylor is…going to drive this past the finish line.”

At Ellettsville’s town hall on Saturday morning, about 60 people gathered to elect Taylor Bryant as the new chair of Monroe County’s Republican Party.

She had declared her candidacy earlier in the week in a Facebook post.

Saturday’s voice vote by the party’s precinct committeemen and committeewomen was not controversial. It’s not a dramatic change in party leadership. Her election just elevated Bryant from party vice chair to chair.

And Bryant’s first appointment, to fill her vacant vice chair spot, was a familiar face—William Ellis, who up to now has served as party chair. Saturday’s news could be fairly described as a simple swap in the roles of Ellis and Bryant.

What has some area Republicans thinking Bryant’s chairship could attract the attention of media statewide, or even on the national level, is the fact that the eighteen-year-old is now the youngest county chair for the Republican Party in the state of Indiana, possibly the country. Continue reading “Outgoing Monroe County GOP chair on election of youngest party leader in Hoosier state: “Taylor is…going to drive this past the finish line.””

Bloomington plan commission vacancy: GOP county chair says he has authority to fill it, picks Guenther

One of the nine seats on the Bloomington plan commission has been vacant since around Jan. 6, when the four-year term for Nick Kappas expired, and the city’s mayor, Democrat John Hamilton, decided not to reappoint him.

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Andrew Guenther at a 2019 city council campaign event. (Square Beacon file photo)

The spot held by Kappas is one of the five seats on the nine-member plan commission that are expected to be appointed by the mayor.

In a departure from that expectation, a press release issued Thursday afternoon, by Monroe County Republican Party chair, William Ellis, says the GOP leader has made the plan commission appointment to fill the vacancy.

The GOP chair’s pick, according to the release, is Andrew Guenther, who’s current chair of the city’s environmental commission. Last year Guenther was a Republican candidate for the District 2 city council, a race that was won decisively by Democrat Sue Sgambelluri.

Why does Ellis think he has the authority to make what is ordinarily a mayoral appointment? Continue reading “Bloomington plan commission vacancy: GOP county chair says he has authority to fill it, picks Guenther”

2020 Local Primaries: Democrats now have confirmed contested races for state senator, judge, county councilors

This past week’s candidate filings for offices of local interest brought the total of confirmed contested races in the Democratic Party’s primary elections to three.

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Declaring her candidacy on Friday for the state senate’s District 40 seat was former Monroe County councilor Shelli Yoder. She joins the Democratic Party’s state chair, John Zody, in a bid for the party’s nomination to succeed incumbent Democrat Mark Stoops. Last year, Stoops announced he would not be seeking re-election.

On Wednesday, Kara Elaine Krothe, an attorney in the county’s public defender’s office, declared her candidacy for the Democratic Party’s nomination to the Division 8 judge’s seat in Monroe County’s circuit court. Also running for that nomination is deputy county prosecutor Jeff Kehr, who declared his candidacy on Jan. 8, the first day candidates could file. Continue reading “2020 Local Primaries: Democrats now have confirmed contested races for state senator, judge, county councilors”

Filing deadline passes with no independent candidates for Bloomington mayor on the ballot

At Monroe County’s election headquarters at the intersection of 7th and Madison streets, election supervisor Karen Wheeler spoke with The Beacon around quarter to noon on Monday. Up to then, she said, no independent candidates for Bloomington mayor had turned in the minimum 522 signatures to qualify for the ballot.

A short while later, after confirming the clock read 12:01, Wheeler declared the deadline expired. cropped election registration sign 20190701_115854

Write-in candidates have until noon Wednesday, July 3, to file their paperwork.

The Republican Party is not fielding a candidate for mayor.

That means if no candidate registers as a write-in for the mayor’s race, incumbent John Hamilton is certain to serve as mayor for another four years, starting in 2020, even though no vote for that office will be held.

If no candidate registers as a write-in for any of the other citywide posts, that will mean no elections on Nov. 5 for most of the city of Bloomington, according to Wheeler. Continue reading “Filing deadline passes with no independent candidates for Bloomington mayor on the ballot”

Could the blue bubble of Bloomington have a reddish tinge in City Council District 2?

When maps of election results in recent Indiana statewide races are color-shaded—with reds or blues where Republicans or Democrats won more votes—the Hoosier state is a sea of red with some blue islands.

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The few patches of blue for Indiana are consistent with a robust national pattern: Rural counties are stronger for Republicans; counties with higher urban populations, especially those with universities, are stronger for Democrats.

By way of example, in the 2018 Braun-versus-Donnelly U.S. Senate race, the Republican candidate (Mike Braun) carried most of the counties in the state. Monroe County, which is home to Bloomington’s Indiana University campus, went decisively Donnelly’s way, so it’s a dark shade of blue. Continue reading “Could the blue bubble of Bloomington have a reddish tinge in City Council District 2?”