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]
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.
Election operations building at 3rd and Walnut streets. (May 2, 2022)
Map of all 28 polling locations in Monroe County.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.