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electionlineWeekly — May 5, 2016

Table of Contents

 II. Primary Roundup

Hoosiers (and Boilermakers and Irishmen and Sycamores) went to the polls on Tuesday in the nation’s only presidential primary this week. Turnout was high, especially for Indiana, which struggles with turnout, and there were some issues, but not some of the issues that had plagued vote center counties in previous elections.

A poll worker in Miami County will be disciplined after they told as many as 30 people standing in line near closing time that they may not be allowed to vote because the polls close at 6 p.m. Staff were able to get some of those voters back to the polls, but not all of them.

In Hancock County, about 400 to 500 ballots did not include a race for county commissioner. The ballots were distributed at one vote center between 6 a.m. and 10:26 a.m. when the error was caught. Also in Hancock County, software problems created long waits at some polling places.

St. Joseph County debuted e-poll books for the primary and other than a “few glitches” things went well with the debut. The county did have to send additional iPads to a few polling places because turnout was greater than anticipated. "We'll be looking at purchasing some additional iPads," County Clerk Terri Rethlake told the South Bend Tribune. "As we do in every election, we learn things and tweak things and, hopefully, it helps the voters."

In bellwether Vigo County [for the general people, not the primary!] it was a busy day with occasional long lines impacting voting in Terre Haute. There was one strange incident where a poll worker allegedly said that ballots of female voters should be shredded. The county elections office is investigating. “We put a lot of time, money and effort in running these elections,” Vada Long with the elections office told WTHI. “It’s hard finding poll workers to work, and then we find out they’re discouraging voters. It’s heartbreaking.”

Vote center granddaddy Tippecanoe County reported heavy crowds, but no major problems. First-time voters from Jefferson High School talked with a local television station about the process. “This is a really cool process,” John Colestone told WLFI. “This is the first time I’ve voted, so it was really cool to get out there and support the candidate that you think is going to make the country better.”

In Marion County turnout was so steady that a poll worker “complained” about not being able to read! “The irony is I came prepared to read a book today, thinking that we wouldn’t have this great a turnout,” poll worker Robert Hill told WISH. “I can’t even open it up.”

Johnson County had about a 40 percent voter turnout which occasionally lead to long lines so the county is already planning to add more vote centers and poll workers for the fall.

In Vanderburgh County, 10 voting machines had to wait until Wednesday to be counted because they weren’t shut down properly. The machines had to be returned to the elections office to be double checked and counted.