Early voting up from four years ago in primary elections

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Indianapolis is seeing a significant increase in early voting this election cycle compared to four years ago heading into Tuesday’s primary elections for mayoral and City-County Council candidates.

The north-side suburbs also are seeing an increase in early voter turnout with a field consisting of mostly Republicans fighting for the party nomination to succeed Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard and Westfield Mayor Andy Cook.

In Indianapolis, voters have visited the poll nearly five times more than they had for early voting in 2019. Both party primaries for Indianapolis mayor have several candidates.

Incumbent Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett could be facing his toughest challenger in State Rep. Robin Shackleford in the race for the Democratic nomination. On the Republican side, political commentator Abdul-Hakim Shabazz is facing off against businessman and former City-County Council member Jefferson Shreve and others.

On the Indianapolis City-County Council, retirements and newly-redrawn districts are also leading to some lively election battles. Three Democratic incumbents aren’t seeking reelection, while several incumbent councilors on both sides are facing spirited challenges.

The 12,387 votes cast before the end of day Sunday is a likely indication that this year’s turnout could surpass 2019’s, when 2,735 early ballots were cast out of the 54,000 votes that were counted in total.

Early voting in Hamilton County is up nearly 10% compared to 2019. In 2019, the county had 7,834 early voters compared with a 8,594 so far this primary. The clerk’s office shared these numbers with an hour left of early voting and remaining absentee ballots to count.

With Brainard leaving after 28 years in office, a dramatic three-way Republican primary is taking place in Carmel between Kevin “Woody” Rider, Sue Finkam and Fred Glynn. The winner will likely face Democrat Miles Nelson in the November general election. No other Democrats have filed to run.

In Westfield, three Republicans are attempting to take on the role of mayor after incumbent Cook, who isn’t running for reelection. The candidates are Kristen Burkman, Jake Gilbert and Scott Willis. No Democrats have filed to run for mayor.

In growing Boone County, Lebanon Mayor Matt Gentry will seek his third term in office with a challenge from two-term Boone County Councilor Kevin Van Horn. In nearby Zionsville, incumbent Democrat Emily Styron is not running for reelection and two Republicans—retired television journalist John Stehr and Jane Burgess, a former school board member—are fighting  to replace her.

Polls close Tuesday at 6 p.m. Voting locations for Indianapolis are available here.

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