Monroe County election supervisor Karen Wheeler indicates the height of the stack of ballots that arrived after noon on June 2 and did not count.
Low curb at Grandview Elementary School, which was bridged with a portable ramp.
Thursday afternoon, two days after the June 2 primary election, Monroe County’s election board reviewed how things went on Election Day, under the accommodations made to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
They also reviewed the accommodations that were made as required under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), which includes ADA compliance.
For this election at least, the seven polling sites got good marks from disabilities activist Randy Paul. Cones with disability placards were set up to mark off parking spaces closest to whichever entrance that was being used for polling. And temporary ramps were installed in some locations, like a low curb at Grandview Elementary School.
The headline for this piece is unlikely to surprise anyone with just a scant knowledge of local Bloomington politics or national election trends.
Still, it’s worth adding some precision to some general ideas. Bloomington’s quadrennial municipal elections—held the year before presidential contests—attract few voters. And those who do vote are older than average.
Based on turnout in past years, I think maybe 1,500 voters will participate in Bloomington’s Nov. 5 elections. That’s about 3 percent of city voters in the registered voter file provided by the Monroe County election supervisor’s office in early July.
Based on participation in past elections, more than half of those 1,500 voters will be older than 60. That’s almost three decades older than the average registered voter in Bloomington.
It’s unfair, of course, to compare an estimated maximum of 1,500 voters this November to the number of registered voters in all of Bloomington. That’s because elections will be held in just two of six city council districts this year. The other four district seats on the city council are uncontested. Also uncontested are races for all city-wide offices—mayor, city clerk and member-at-large city council seats.
Adjusting for just the roughly 16,000 registered voters in District 2 and District 3 combined, an estimated maximum turnout of 1,500 works out to around 9 percent. That doesn’t add up to a point of civic pride.
For District 2, my working estimate for maximum turnout is about 500 voters. I think if one of the two candidates gets more than 250 votes, that will be enough to win the seat. For District 3, I don’t think the turnout will be more than about 1,000 voters. I think if any of the three candidates gets more than 375 votes, that will be enough to win.
For both districts, I think the average age of voters this November will be older than 60.