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Indiana voter turnout heavier than expected

November 4, 2014

Indiana voters driven by frustration with the nation's economy and partisan politics in Washington, D.C., flocked to polls Tuesday despite an absence of hot races closer to home.

Turnout hit nearly 40 percent in some areas despite the absence of a governor's race or U.S. Senate battle. The showing was a vast improvement over the 13-percent turnout in the May primary, relieving officials who had feared a record-low turnout for the midterm election.

Few voters appeared driven by the races at the top of Indiana's ballot — secretary of state, treasurer and auditor.

Linda Mallery, a security officer living in the Indianapolis suburb of Westfield, said her focus Tuesday was on "voting incumbents out of office."

"I'm not happy with the status quo in Washington. I want to see our country back on track, observing the Constitution," said Mallery, who declined to give her age.

Other voters expressed frustration with what they perceived as gridlock in Washington.

Philip Shenk, 26, of Indianapolis, said he wished Congress would come together more to work on tough issues like immigration and the environment.

"I feel like Congress is working for people on the far right and far left and not the people in the middle," he said.

Despite voter unhappiness with Washington, all nine of Indiana's congressional delegates were favored to win re-election. Even the race predicted to be the closest — the 2nd District battle between Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski and Notre Dame instructor Joe Bock — turned into an early Walorski victory.

Republicans also hoped to keep their supermajority in the state House, allowing them to do business without any Democrats present.

Voting went smoothly at most of the state's polling sites, but a computer glitch temporarily took out terminals at five of 11 vote centers in southern Indiana's Floyd County, said Bill Lohmeyer, a Democratic county election board member.

Technicians got the terminals at two of the sites working within a half hour and got those at the other three sites working by 8 a.m., two hours late. Voters were directed to other polling sites while the technicians were fixing the terminals, Lohmeyer said.

"We had a few people angry with us for having to stand in line a little longer, but sending them to other voting centers was the easiest way to handle this because it's a small county," he said.

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