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Election Day rewind: At the polling places


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Turnout slow but steady during day

The formula was right for a high voter turnout for Tuesday’s primary election: The sun was shining, temperatures reached the mid-70s, and there were contested races on the ballot.

But one thing was missing through midafternoon: voters. The East Columbus Volunteer Fire Department hadn’t reached a 5 percent turnout by 2:30 p.m., and poll workers there had no reason to believe there would be a spike in the late afternoon.

Supporters, voters and poll workers across the county described turnout as slow but steady.

Bartholomew County Clerk Tami Hines said many precincts reported always having a voter in a booth, but lines rarely formed.

Jay Phelps, who ran for county clerk, expected to see more people at the polls. He had been to most of the precincts through the morning and afternoon as he delivered food to his supporters, but he didn’t find any locations abuzz with activity.

Exercising a right

John Holwager’s reason for continuing to show up was simple: “You don’t vote, you have no say. You can’t complain.”

He said he and his wife, Dorothy, showed up mainly to have a say in the sheriff’s race.

Candidate confusion

Larry D. Simpson was not a choice for Democrats on Tuesday for German Township Advisory Board. But anyone checking an online resource to learn who was on their ballot would have thought he was.

Simpson filed the necessary paperwork with the Bartholomew County Voter Registration Office on March 11 to withdraw as a candidate. Simpson indicated that he was moving to another location and couldn’t be a candidate for the board, County Clerk Tami Hines said.

Simpson filed ahead of the deadline for withdrawing and was not listed on any of the ballots at any of the precincts for Tuesday’s primary, Hines said.

However, he was not removed properly from the Statewide Voter Registration System, Hines said. That online resource was available as a link on the Bartholomew County website on the page for clerk.

A teaching experience

Michelle White is a licensed teacher, but she’s taken a few years off to be a stay-at-home mom to 5-year-old Lila White.

That hasn’t kept her from teaching, though, and she took Lila to vote with her Tuesday morning.

“It’s a good experience to see the voting booth, and I told her there are places in the world where people don’t get to do this,” she said.

Lila said she had fun with the experience, and she got some campaign practice. Although the Whites have lived in Columbus for only a few years, they became quick friends with judge candidate Jeff Logston and his family.

“Thanks for voting for Jeff!” Lila called as voters left St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

Few problems encountered

County Clerk Tami Hines said there were no major election issues to report by midafternoon.

A few poll workers failed to show up, but all precincts opened as planned. There were a few technical difficulties, but the fixes were as simple as plugging in the machine.

There was a power outage at a polling location in Clay Township, but a generator restored power almost immediately, and no voting information was lost.

Republican majority

Only seven registered Democrats had cast a ballot at Fire Station No. 5 on Goeller Boulevard by noon, according to a poll worker.

Not all polling locations tracked Democrat participants, but many supporters outside expected that to be the case because Democrats didn’t file for many local races.

In two of the highest profile races — for Superior Court 2 judge and sheriff — there were no Democratic candidates but multiple Republican candidates.

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