An election viewed by many as long, decisive and negative will come to an end in Jackson County at 6 p.m. Tuesday when the polls close.
Despite all of that, many county residents, including Melanie Leland of Seymour, have taken the time to vote at absentee polling sites in Brownstown and Seymour. Thousands more are expected to vote on Election Day.
“I think it’s always important for people to vote,” Leland said. “It’s a way to have our voices heard. Our representatives haven’t been listening very well, but if we don’t try to make the change, things will never change.”
As of 11 a.m. Friday, Leland was among 3,805 registered voters in the county who had voted early.
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That total included 3,030 who had visited one of the two polling sites, 627 who had voted by mail, 134 who had voted through the traveling board and 14 by email.
The number of people voting absentee for Tuesday’s general election surpasses the 3,307 who did so four years ago and the 3,111 who voted early in 2008.
Absentee balloting in person ends Monday at the polling sites at the Jackson County Courthouse in Brownstown and Jackson Superior Court I in Seymour. Those sites are open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. today and from 8 a.m. until noon Monday. Absentee ballots will be counted if they reach the courthouse in Brownstown by noon on Election Day.
Leland said for her, the election unfortunately has been a very divisive and negative one.
“I’m glad it’s almost done,” she said.
Leland said she voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton for president.
“She has more experience and has led a much more positive campaign,” she said. “It’s very hard to support someone who just puts down anyone who doesn’t agree with them.”
Another Seymour woman visiting the polling site at Jackson Superior Court I on the city’s west side voted for Republican Donald Trump.
“I think they need new candidates for president, but you vote for the lesser of two evils,” April Fowler said.
She said she voted for Trump because “he has more values that I agree with.”
And there was one other reason.
“I don’t think a woman should be president,” Fowler said.
She said voting for people up for county offices is important and easier to do because you generally know more about them.
Leland said she thinks voters can have more of an effect on local elections because they are easy to focus on and don’t get lost in all of the media frenzy for the national and state races.
Poll worker Donna Garvey said voting turnout has been pretty steady at the Seymour site in the days leading up to the election.
“Previous years have been light. This year has been very heavy,” Garvey said. “We had the biggest day ever yesterday (Wednesday). This week has been busier so far because it’s getting closer to Election Day.”
Garvey said most voters have been easy to deal with, but one or two have become upset with the electronic voting machine, although there have been no problems with the machine.
The electronic voting machines give voters a chance to review their ballot before submitting it to two poll clerks — one from each political party. Those workers each sign off on the ballot and place it an envelope to be opened and counted on Election Day.
Garvey also said any fears that hackers can get into voting machines is unwarranted because the machines are not connected to any network or the Internet.
Cathy Stuckwisch, another poll worker, said the Seymour polling site has been busy since opening nearly two weeks ago.
“Most people are wanting to vote because of the hoopla, and most people just want the election to be over,” she said. “We’ve had people who have never voted a day in their life come in and vote this year.”
Elizabeth Cox of Seymour said she doesn’t feel the country has a good choice when it comes to a presidential candidate.
“Locally, I feel good, but the national election has just become a bunch of mudslinging,” she said.
She said she feels better about the local election because she can knows the people pretty well and there isn’t as much mudslinging.
Cox said voting early is a more relaxed atmosphere.
“… and you can go whenever instead of on a certain day between certain hours,” she said.
Mary Beth Gibson of Seymour said she didn’t vote in several races.
“The election is really a sad state for America to be in, but I’m hoping for good things to happen,” she said.
Gibson didn’t want to discuss who she voted for but said she believes everyone should think hard on their candidate.
Absentee voting in presidential election years
Anyone planning to vote on Election Day must be a registered voter and have a valid government-issued identification with a photograph, and it must be current through the last general election (Nov. 4, 2014). It can be a driver’s license, a passport or any identification issued by the state or federal government.
Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles license branches will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to issue identification cards and driver’s licenses that may be used for identification at a polling place. Branches also will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday.
The license branches only will process new, amended or replacement identification cards, driver’s licenses and learner permits.
The BMV provides free state-issued identification cards for voting purposes to any unlicensed Hoosier as long as he or she can provide proper documentation and will be at least 18 years of age on or before the next general or municipal election.
A complete list of documents required to obtain a new state identification card or driver’s license may be found at mybmv.com.