`

Indiana early voters twice that of 2012 election

April 19, 2016

With record early-voting numbers already reached, Indiana election officials don't expect the momentum to let up ahead of the state's May 3 primary election.

About 31,000 people had cast ballots in-person as of Monday since early voting began April 5, according to the Indiana Secretary of State's Office. That's nearly double the number of early voters during the same period in 2012.

Indiana is expected to play a pivotal role in this year's presidential nominating contest, despite the state's late primary. Some efforts by campaigns and election offices say early voting will save people time instead of waiting in line during election day, but election officials say the large pre-election turnout is mostly due to the closely contested presidential races in both the Democrat and Republican fields.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, is challenging former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, while the Republican nod pits business giant Donald Trump against Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

Several statewide primaries also may prove to be tight races, with the state Senate's top leaders facing challengers and two open congressional seats being fought over by several current public officials.

"It's been busy," said Russell Hollis, deputy director for the Marion County Election Board. "I do think having contested primaries on both sides of the aisle has a lot to do with it."

In Marion County, there have been nearly twice as many people voting in-person daily than there were in 2012. The county has also seen more activity than the 2008 election, which was the last time the presidential race did not include an incumbent. In Indiana, Clinton beat now-President Barack Obama.

While the turnout may be difficult to predict, Hollis said the upward trend may continue unless someone drops out of the presidential race.

It's not just in-person early voting, either: The state has received about 20,000 absentee ballots so far, nearly 3,000 more than 2012.

Debra Walker, president of the Association of the Clerks of the Circuit Courts of Indiana, said she doesn't expect it to slow down.

"The presidential election especially when it is an open seat, always brings out a lot of voters," Walker said. "With Indiana playing such a big role this year, I think that people will realize that their vote will count."

ADVERTISEMENT

Recent Articles by Associated Press

Comments powered by Disqus