Week 1 of early voting in Monroe County in the books: 3,662 in-person ballots cast

At the end of the first week of early voting in Monroe County, Indiana, the tally of ballots cast in person stood at 3,662.

With Election Central open from 8 a.m to 6 p.m. starting Tuesday, that total, averaged over 40 hours, works out to a throughput of about 92 voters per hour.

By day the totals were: Tuesday (899), Wednesday (857), Thursday (933) and Friday (973). Based on the persistent lines, those numbers are probably an indicator of the maximum pace for processing voters.

At that same pace, the 208 hours of early voting that are scheduled before the Nov. 3 election would yield around 19,000 voted ballots.

The latest figure from the county clerk’s office for the number of absentee mail-in ballots that have been requested is around 13,000.

That projects to at least 32,000 people voting before Election Day this year. That total could go higher, because vote-by-mail absentee ballots can still be requested. Continue reading “Week 1 of early voting in Monroe County in the books: 3,662 in-person ballots cast”

Long lines but sunny start to early voting in Monroe County

Tuesday morning, Oct. 6, saw a long line of voters in downtown Bloomington.

It stretched south down the block from Election Central, at the corner of 7th and Madison, around the corner where the former La Vie en Rose Cafe stands, west along 6th Street, nearly to Rogers Street.

Tuesday was the first day of early voting in Monroe County for the Nov. 3 general election.

Around 8 a.m., when voters could first start casting their ballots, the temperature was hovering a smidgen over 40 F degrees. But by early afternoon, clear, sunny skies helped the mercury break 70 F.

At 8:45 a.m. The Square Beacon counted 105 people in line to vote. Among the prospective voters, The Square Beacon did not spot any without a face covering, as a precaution against spread of the COVID-19 pandemic virus. Voters emerging from Election Central mid-morning said they had stood in line around an hour.

An hour is about how long it took the The Square Beacon to cast a ballot, after joining the line on 6th Street just before noon. The Square Beacon’s time inside the polls was clocked at 16 minutes and 44 seconds. Continue reading “Long lines but sunny start to early voting in Monroe County”

Monroe County June 2 primary election update: 18K absentee ballots sent so far; early in-person voting starts Tuesday

According to Monroe County election supervisor Karen Wheeler, 17,997 absentee ballots had been sent out to voters as of Friday and 6,517 of them received by her office.

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Monroe County’s Election Central at the corner of 7th and Madison streets in downtown Bloomington on May 23, 2020 (Dave Askins/Square Beacon)

When The Square Beacon touched base with Wheeler on Saturday morning, she said about 5,000 more ballots still need to be sent out. That will make about 23,000 total absentee ballots for this year’s primary election. Election day is June 2.

A lot of voters waited until close to the deadline to apply for an absentee ballot. The deadline for turning in ballot applications was Thursday, May 21. The voted ballots themselves have to reach the clerk’s office by noon on primary election day, June 2. Voters who receive their ballots later next week, and are concerned that their mailed ballot might not arrive in time, can turn in their ballots in person at Election Central.

The roughly 1,300 ballots that have been processed every day for the last week is about twice the number Wheeler had previously described as the office’s maximum daily capacity. She said previously she’d be looking to recruit county employees who had been ordered to stay home from work during the COVID-19 health emergency.

On Saturday, she said about 20 people were working inside the Election Central building at 7th and  Madison streets. They’ll need to work Sunday, Monday, and probably Tuesday, too, Wheeler figured.

“It’s been intense,” Wheeler said. Continue reading “Monroe County June 2 primary election update: 18K absentee ballots sent so far; early in-person voting starts Tuesday”

Monroe County gets masks, sanitizer from state for election workers as more than 4.3K people have already voted by mail

Secretary of state Connie Lawson said on Friday that the state received the personal protection equipment (PPE) that it had ordered for election workers, using $7.5 million of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act  funding.

National Guard troops had started delivering masks, sanitizer, gloves and microfiber towels to all 92 counties the previous day, and were continuing  deliveries “as I speak,” Lawson said.

Lawson said that her office had tapped Indiana sources of PPE who did not supply PPE to medical providers—to make sure her office was not depriving health care workers of needed equipment. Lawson made her remarks during Indiana governor Eric Holcomb’s regular press conference on Friday.

Monroe County’s election supervisor Karen Wheeler confirmed to the Square Beacon Friday afternoon that the National Guard had dropped off two pallets of PPE material earlier that morning.  The pallets were not completely full, but had lots of the equipment, she said. She called it “rather impressive.” Continue reading “Monroe County gets masks, sanitizer from state for election workers as more than 4.3K people have already voted by mail”

Early voting: Close race between District 2 and District 3

One of the points of pride at stake in Bloomington’s municipal elections this year is which city council district can produce a better turnout at the polls.

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Shown are the two districts where Bloomington city elections will be held on Nov. 5 this year, with the names of candidates who will appear on the ballot. (Dave Askins/Beacon) 

Through about 1 p.m. on Friday, early voting tallies made the race between District 2 and District 3 pretty much a dead heat: 113 for District 2 and 116 for District 3.

Election Central early voting, at 7th and Madison streets, continues Saturday (Nov. 2). Saturday hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

On Monday (Nov. 4) early voting continues from 8 a.m. to noon.

Election Day hours at precincts are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Voting precinct locations are posted on the Monroe County election board’s website.

No tallies are done for individual candidates until the polls close on Election Day.

Candidates are:

District 2

District 3

Continue reading “Early voting: Close race between District 2 and District 3”

Free parking in downtown Bloomington … for voters

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Election Central at 7th and Madison streets on Oct. 25, 2019. (Dave Askins/Beacon)

The parking lot at Election Central in downtown Bloomington, at the corner of 7th and Madison streets, is now reserved for voters to park. Banners on both sides of the entrance say, “Voter Parking Only.” Continue reading “Free parking in downtown Bloomington … for voters”

Early voting for city council races started today, a rainy day and a Monday

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The banner at Voting Central, at 7th and Madison streets in downtown Bloomington got changed this morning (Oct. 21) from “Early Voting Starts Soon” to “Vote Here Today.” (Dave Askins/Beacon)

Around midmorning today, The Beacon dropped by Monroe County’s Voting Central, at 7th and Madison streets in downtown Bloomington. It’s the site of early voting in Bloomington’s municipal elections, which started today.

By then, nearly half a dozen Bloomington residents had flouted conventional wisdom from The Carpenters about rainy days and Mondays—”nuthin’ to do but frown”—and found something else to do: vote.

About two and a half hours after the 8 a.m. start, Monroe County’s election supervisor Karen Wheeler told The Beacon that five people had voted early so far. She did not have a breakdown between District 2 and District 3, the only two of Bloomington’s four districts where elections are being held this year.

Early voting hours on weekdays are 8 a.m to 6 p.m. The complete schedule is posted on the county election board’s website.

Election Day is Nov. 5.