Primary election notebook

High voter turnout

James Kamp was told to expect to see about 100 voters total on Tuesday when he worked the polls at the East Columbus Fire Station. But by 2 p.m., 476 residents had already cast their votes at the fire station on Repp Drive.

Voters were lined up outside of the East Columbus Fire Station even before the polls opened at 6 a.m., Kamp said

“It’s been heavy everywhere,” he said.

The ease of the voting center system, which replaced the previous precinct system three elections ago, makes it much more convenient and enticing for residents to vote, said Bill Gordon, a Republican inspector working with Kamp at the fire station polls.

“When it first started, I was dubious about it,” he said. “But it’s so much better. It’s much smoother, and it’s less stress for the voters and the workers.”

Of the five elections Kamp has worked the polls in previously, he said Tuesday’s turnout was one of the highest he has ever encountered.

Just five minutes

Cummins employee David King said he found no line Tuesday and loved the convenience of having a voting center in The Commons, right next door to his office building. In past elections, the marketing manager said he had voted at Parkside Elementary School, which had lines, but not this year at The Commons. “No line, I went straight in — took about five minutes,” he said. “This is convenient.” 

First-time voters

The line at Donner Center stretched nearly outside of the building’s front door shortly after noon Tuesday as dozens of local residents waited to cast their vote. Among those in line were Jacob Dunn and Drew Schoeberl, two high school seniors voting in an election for the first time.

The 18-year-olds said they took time out of their lunch hours at school to vote in the primary election because voting is a basic American right that everyone should exercise.

Schoeberl said he has always been interested in politics, and he’s had a chance to keep up with this year’s election through his Advanced Placement government class at Columbus North High School.

Both students walked out of Donner with an “I Voted” sticker to show off completion of their civic duty to their classmates back at school. Although Schoeberl wasn’t sure if he’d keep his sticker on all day, Dunn said he would wear his with pride through the halls of Columbus Signature Academy — New Tech campus.

Campaigning in the rain

The steady and sometimes heavy rains that washed over Columbus on Tuesday weren’t enough to keep some people from standing outside of a voting center and campaigning for their preferred candidates.

With only umbrellas to protect them against the elements, Ann Jones, David Glesing and Mike Ward set up camp outside of MainSource back — one of 18 voting centers — on the city’s west side and greeted voters, each wearing a shirt encouraging residents to cast their vote a certain way.

Ward said he weathered the storms all morning Tuesday to campaign for Bartholomew Circuit Court judge candidate Kelly Benjamin, arriving at MainSource right as the polls opened at 6 a.m.

Glesing, who was in favor of Democratic state representative candidate Dale Nowlin, and Jones, a supporter of Nowlin’s opponent, Bob Pitman, arrived later in the morning but planned to ride out the afternoon and evening storms at MainSource to show their support.

“We believe in our candidates, and we want to support them,” Ward said.

Vote and then get a treat

Congregation members Ken Vorthmann, Barbara Davies and Russell Davies, her son, were staffing the snack table Tuesday at the Grace Lutheran Church voting center, something the church has provided for more than 20 years to reward those who come out to vote, Russell Davies said. By mid-day, the snack team had distributed more than 150 cookies and more than 100 bananas to those who voted at the church. Some wait lines to vote reached more than 20 minutes — although there was no word on how long the wait line was at the snack table.

Compiled by Olivia Covington and Julie McClure, Republic staff.