Nearly 5,000 Jackson County residents took the opportunity to vote in the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s general election.
That’s nearly a sixth of the 30,548 registered to vote.
For those of you who didn’t vote early by mail or in person at two absentee polling sites, your last chance to help the country pick a president, a U.S. senator and representative, a governor, two of three county commissioners, three at-large council members and a coroner will begin at 6 a.m. Tuesday. It will come to an end at 6 p.m.
But if you didn’t vote early at the Jackson County Courthouse or Jackson Superior Court I, anticipate the possibility of having to stand in line to vote at your precinct.
In fact, some of those voting early in the past few days also had to stand in lines.
County Clerk Amanda Lowery said she anticipated the long lines the nearer it came to Election Day.
“We have had significant lines the past four days or so,” she said.
Polling sites will have paper ballots available Tuesday to allow more than one person to vote at a time, and that should make voting go a little faster, she said. In-person absentee balloting was done electronically.
Lowery said the election board is anticipating lines early in the day and possibly when the polls close.
“People need to plan accordingly and be prepared to wait,” she said.
It’s the presidential race between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump that has driven interest in this year’s election.
Locally, voters will pick three at-large county council members. That race features Democrats Andy Fountain of Brownstown, Kathy Schafstall of Seymour and Steve Ritter of Norman against Republican candidates Ann Cain of Seymour, Dave Hall of Norman and John Nolting of Brownstown.
A change in state law involving straight party voting is in effect for the election.
Hoosiers may still be able to cast a straight ticket, but that vote will not count for any individual candidate for at-large county council races, the school board races and public questions on the ballot. The same will hold true for any at-large town council race in future elections. Voters now will have to select each candidate they wish to vote for in at-large council races.
Jackson County voters also will pick commissioners.
Democrat Kurt Fenneberg, a political newcomer from Seymour, faces Republican Drew Markel of Seymour for the District 1 commissioner seat presently held by Republican Jerry Hounshel, who did not seek his party’s nomination in the primary.
The District 2 commissioner race features two newcomers, Republican Bob Gillaspy and Democrat Bradley D. Smith, both of Seymour, and the race for coroner features Republican Mike Bobb and Democrat Andy Rumph, both of Seymour.
Voters also will pick school board members at Crothersville, Medora and Seymour, although there are no contested races.
At the end of early voting Saturday, the clerk’s office had received 4,748 valid ballots, including 3,844 from people voting in person and 637 by mail. By mid-morning Monday, another 216 had voted in person, and the office also had received 48 more ballots by mail.
Absentee voting ended at noon Monday.
Turnout in the presidential elections in Jackson County has averaged 59.2 percent. Four years ago, 58 percent or 17,006 out of 29,380 registered voters cast ballots.
Here is a sample ballot:
Read the full story in Tuesday’s Tribune and online at tribtown.com.