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President, governor races lead ballots: Voter registration closes Tuesday for election featuring local contests, issues

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President of the United States. Indiana’s next governor. Bartholomew County’s next Superior Court I judge.

Those are among the federal, state and county races that Bartholomew County voters will help decide, starting Monday. That’s when absentee in-person voting begins, which people can do at the Bartholomew County Courthouse. The traditional Election Day, when voters go to the polls, is Nov. 6.

Voters across America will decide whether Democrat Barack Obama returns to the White House for a second term as president or whether Republican challenger Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, takes office in January.

But the top-billed race that Indiana voters alone will decide is who replaces Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, restricted by law from seeking a third consecutive term.

U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., a Columbus North graduate, is leaving his seat in Congress in hopes of replacing Daniels. His main challenger is Democrat John Gregg, the former Indiana House speaker from Sandborn in southwest Indiana. The Libertarian candidate is Rupert Boneham, the former “Survivor” reality-show cast member, who is from Indianapolis.

Three candidates for vying for Pence’s District 6 seat in the U.S. Congress: Republican Luke Messer, Democrat Brad Bookout and Libertarian Rex Bell.

Bartholomew County voters will find two contested races for seats in the state Legislature:

  • Rep. Sean Eberhart, R-Shelbyville, who represents eastern Bartholomew County, faces challenges from Democrat Todd Day and Libertarian Paul Bravard.
  • Voters will choose a new state representative for District 69, which represents a sliver of Sandcreek Township in Bartholomew County. Republican Jim Lucas and Democrat Jim McCormick are competing to replace Democrat Dave Cheatham, who is retiring.

Although many countywide races are uncontested, there are two contested, high-profile ones on the ballot for Bartholomew voters to decide:

  • Republican Rick Flohr and Independent Tony London are vying for the Bartholomew County Commissioner District 3 seat. The winner replaces Paul Franke, who is retiring.
  • Republican Jim Worton and Independent Joe Meek are facing off to replace Judge Chris Monroe in the Bartholomew Superior I court. Monroe lost to Worton in the primary.

Two municipal races are on the ballot in Hope:

  • The Hope Town Council has a contested race for Ward 1, between Republican Jonathan Titus and Independent Matthew Hill.
  • Republican Shirley Robertson and Independent Diane Burton are seeking the Hope Town Clerk-Treasurer post.

Two school districts also have contested races:

  • Voters in the Flat Rock-Hawcreek School Corp. who decide who represents the Haw Creek District are selecting one candidate from among Cammille Shoaf, Annessa Thayer and Steven Wilson.
  • There are three candidates seeking two spots on the Edinburgh Community Schools board. They are Cathy Hamm, Bill Jones and Alice Taulman. A portion of Bartholomew County is represented on the board.
  • In the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp., voters will decide whether to invest $1.8 million for early education programs for 4-year-olds.
  • Some citizens will be casting their ballots in new precinct locations for the general election:
  • Columbus residents in Precinct 1600 who cast their primary ballots last spring at the former Home Federal Bank branch (now Old National Bank) on 25th Street near Taylor Road will now vote at the Villa Apartments on Waycross Drive, west of Smith Elementary School.
  • Hope-area voters in Precincts 4600, 4800 and 4900 will cast their ballots at the Hope Moravian Church on Main Street, instead of the Community Center of Hope on Washington Street.

For citizens who have not yet registered, the final day to register to vote is Tuesday.

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