Voters can start casting ballots for the May 3 primary election today with the opening of an early voting polling site at the courthouse in Brownstown.
There are just five countywide races on the ballot, but judging by the number of new registered voters, there’s plenty of interest in other races on the ballot, including those for president.
“We have more than 700 new registered voters through this morning,” Clerk Amanda Lowery said Monday morning.
The voter registration process began Dec. 2, 2015, and continued through midnight Monday, so there is a possibility of more new voters as people could register online and submit new registrations by mail as long as they were postmarked April 4.
The last election to draw anywhere near that many new registered voters was 10 years ago in 2006 when there were 515. In 2008, which also was a presidential election, there were 211 new registered voters.
Lowery said she’s not sure why there is such a high number of new registered voters heading into the May 3 primary.
“There’s something drawing their interest,” she said.
The ballots for both parties will include presidential races, a senate race and a field of four Democrats and five Republicans for the 9th U.S. Congressional District seat.
Hoosiers also will elect a governor this year, although the only candidates at this time are incumbent Gov. Mike Pence, a Republican, and Democrat John Gregg, a former speaker of the Indiana House, who lost to Pence by less than 82,000 votes four years ago.
The total number of registered voters through Monday morning was 29,773 with 364 pending and the potential for more through the mail pending.
Lowery said it looks like the total number of registered voters is going to be close to the 29,871 registered voters in the county in 2008. That also was a presidential election year. Four years ago in 2012, the total number of registered voters for the primary was 28,874.
Lowery said she’s always optimistic that voter turnout will be high, and the abundance of races at the state and federal level will definitely help.
There are just four Democrats on the local primary ballot and no races slated for that party. The four are Andy Rumph of Seymour, county coroner; Bradley D. Smith of Seymour, commissioner District 1; and Steve Ritter of Norman and Kathy Schafstall of Seymour, at-large county council.
The Republican races feature Michael Bobb and Mark D. Holt, both of Seymour, and Shane Collier of Brownstown, coroner; Maria L. Fisher of Norman and Roger Hurt of Brownstown, treasurer; Drew Markel of Seymour and David M. Martindale of Brownstown, commissioner District 1; Bob Gillaspy, Tom Joray and Don Schnitker, all of Seymour, commissioner District 2; and Joe Bowman, Ann Cain and Fred Gill, all of Seymour, Ralph Collins of Medora, Dave Hall of Norman and John Nolting of Brownstown, at-large council. Three of those county council candidates will be elected to represent the GOP in the Nov. 8 general election.
Republicans running unopposed are Bruce MacTavish of Seymour, who is running for another term as Jackson Superior Court II judge; incumbent Kathy Hohenstreiter of Seymour, auditor; and incumbent Dan Blann, surveyor.
The absentee balloting polling site at the courthouse in Brownstown will be open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays from today through April 29.
Absentee balloting also will be available at Jackson Superior Court I, 1420 Corporate Way in Seymour, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays from April 18 to 29.
The sites also will be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 23 and 30 and from 8 a.m. to noon May 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. April 25. Absentee ballots must be returned by noon on election day May 3.
A traveling board has been established for confined voters. It will be available beginning April 14. Hours are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays through May 2.
To receive an absentee ballot or request other voting information, call 812-358-6120.
Registered voters since 2004
2016;29,782 (through Monday morning)