Absentee voting begins next week

Absentee voting begins Monday in Brownstown and Seymour. But if you plan to vote before election day Nov. 3, don’t expect to find either site overwhelmed with a lot of others with the same idea.

That’s because the ballots in Crothersville and Seymour feature just two races each, and Brownstown’s contains just one race.

County Clerk Amanda Lowery, however, remains optimistic that people will still turn out to vote.

“I always hope people turn out to vote,” she said.

Lowery said there is an anticipation that more people will vote Nov. 3 compared to the primary because Crothersville and Brownstown have races. The primary featured just three races for council seats in Seymour, and turnout was 7.1 percent.

Beginning Monday, the absentee voting site at the courthouse in Brownstown will be open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays through Oct. 30.

The Seymour polling site at 1420 Corporate Way also will open Monday and will be available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each weekday.

“That gives us time to get the ballots back to the courthouse here,” Lowery said. The courthouse in Brownstown closes at 4:30 p.m.

Both sites also will be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 24 and 31 and from 8 a.m. to noon Nov. 2.

The state gives counties leeway about how soon absentee balloting polling sites open, and this year, the election board decided to open just two weeks early because of the lack of races and the expectation of lower turnout, Lowery said.

“Most elections, we start four or five weeks early,” she said.

Cutting back the length of time the sites are open saves money, and the election board also has decided to cut back on the number of poll workers on election day as another costing-cutting measure, Lowery said.

Some people already have voted by mail, voter registration clerk Deseree McKain-Haurez said. She said that, through Wednesday, there were 265 requests for absentee ballots for those who want to vote by mail, and 105 people already have returned absentee ballots.

McKain-Haurez said the one race that has sparked some interest appears to be the one for the five at-large Crothersville Town Council seats. Nine people are seeking those seats. Voters in that small southeastern Jackson County town also will pick a clerk-treasurer.

The race likely to draw the largest number of voters overall, however, involves the one for Seymour’s two at-large council seats.

Four candidates, Democrat Lloyd Hudson, Republicans Darrin Boas and Kendra Zumhingst and independent Shawn Malone are fighting for the seats held by Hudson and Boas, who was chosen by a caucus of Republican precinct committee to fill a vacancy in January. Seymour voters can vote for two of the four.

The other race in Seymour pits incumbent Republican Jim Rebber against newcomer Tammy Riordan, a Democrat, for the District 4 council seat. Only District 4 residents can vote for that office.

Republican incumbents running unopposed in Seymour include Mayor Craig Luedeman and incumbent Clerk-Treasurer Fred Lewis. Luedeman is seeking a third term, and Lewis is seeking his seventh term.

District 2 Councilman Brian “Bubba” D’Arco also is running unopposed as is newcomer Matt Nicholson, who will be taking the District 3 seat that fellow Republican Danny Sloan is giving up at the end of the year. Nicholson ran unopposed in the primary.

The District 1 seat is held by Democrat John J. Reinhart, who is seeking re-election, and the District 5 seat is held by independent Dave Earley, who also is seeking another term. Both are unopposed.

In the past, the Crothersville Town Council had just three members. In 2013, voters approved an initiative expanding the council to five seats.

Seeking those seats are Democrats Nancy Hopper, Geoffrey Walker, Robert “Bob” Lyttle, Brenda Holzworth and Lenvel “Butch” Robinson and Republicans Danieta Gullett Foster, Chad Wilson, Jerad T. Sporleder and J.D. Woods.

Robinson is the only incumbent, as Ardell Mitchell and Derrick Minton both decided not to run again.

Crothersville Republican Clerk-Treasurer Terry L. Richey faces a challenge from Democrat NaLona Bush, a former clerk-treasurer for the town.

The only race in Brownstown pits political newcomer James “Jim” Weesner, a Democrat, against Republican Bethany Brewster, who was chosen by a caucus of Republican precinct committee members to fill a vacancy when Ben Lewis moved out of town.

Brownstown Town Council members running unopposed are Republicans John Nolting, Sally Cate Lawson and Matt Smith, who won a town convention against incumbent C.J. Foster this summer, and Democrat Bill Sweeney. Democrat Clerk-Treasurer David Willey also is unopposed.

At a glance

The absentee balloting polling site at the courthouse in Brownstown will be open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. Absentee ballots also can be filled out at Jackson Superior Court I, 1420 Corporate Way in Seymour, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Both sites will start Monday and run through Oct. 30.

The sites also will be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 24 and 31 and from 8 a.m. to noon Nov. 2.

Any registered voter who is confined or out of county may apply for an absentee ballot to vote by mail through 11:59 p.m. Oct. 26. Absentee ballots must be returned by noon on election day Nov. 3.

A traveling board has been established for confined voters. It will be available beginning Oct. 26. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through Oct. 30 and 8 a.m. until midnight Nov. 2.

To receive an absentee ballot or for other voting information, call 812-358-6120.

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Aubrey Woods is editor of The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at awoods@tribtown.com or 812-523-7051.