Marion County voters wait hours to cast ballots on day early-vote centers open

The voters on the left are near the beginning of a line that snakes around a large parking lot and then around the Perry Township Government Center. The voters on the right are near the end of the line and about to enter the center. At midday, the wait was more than four hours. (IBJ photo/Lesley Weidenbener)

Thousands of voters waited for hours in long lines to cast ballots Saturday, the first day that early-voting centers were open outside the City-County Building downtown.

Voters reported waits as long as eight hours at St. Luke United Methodist Church at 100 W. 86th St., a voting center in the 5th Congressional District, which features one of the hottest U.S. House races in the country.

In fact, Fady Qaddoura, a Democrat running for Indiana Senate, tweeted at 10:08 p.m. that he and his wife were the last people to vote at St. Luke on Saturday.

“I told the voters I was not voting until all of them voted, and I meant it,” he said in his tweet.

Waits topped three and four hours midday at the Krannert Park Community Center, Perry Township Government Center, Lawrence Township Metropolitan School District administration building, Warren Township Government Center and Perry Township Government Center, according to a website tracking lines.

Demaris and Kellee Finley arrived at the Perry Township Government Center at 12:30 p.m. to find a line hundreds of people long that snaked around a large parking lot, then around the center before voters entered a basement door to vote.

But they never considered leaving. “Voting is really important this year,” Kellee said. “And we didn’t want to have to do this again.”

By 3 p.m., the Finleys were just reaching the end of the lot and still had at least an hour to go around the building. But the wait wasn’t all bad. Demaris was munching on free pizza he got from The NY Slice food truck parked along Shelby Street at the center’s driveway. He’d also made a trip to a nearby convenience store.

And he wasn’t alone. The line at the food truck had its own long line.

Mondo Magallanes, who lives just north of the Perry Township voting site, said he waited 4-1/2 hours before he finally cast his ballot. “I had nothing I had to do today,” he said. “And I figured it would only get worse as the election gets closer.”

The NY Slice food truck parked outside the Perry Township Government Center and gave away free pizza to voters waiting in line. (IBJ photo/Lesley Weidenbener)

Even before Saturday, voters had often waited in long lines to cast ballots at the City-County Building, the only place voting was available before Saturday.

Magallanes said he wasn’t surprised by the waits. He said voters seem especially eager to “make sure their voices are heard,” but he said concern about delays by the postal service have made voting by mail worrisome.

“You have to make sure your vote is counted,” he said.

Vote centers are open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday to Friday through Oct. 30 and from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sunday through Nov. 1.

Marion County will have 187 vote centers open on Election Day on Nov. 3. Those centers will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Anyone in line at 6 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

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16 thoughts on “Marion County voters wait hours to cast ballots on day early-vote centers open

    1. Everyone should vote. Standing in long lines is the surest way to frustrate people into not going back. People just need to use some common sense on how and when they go to the polls.

    2. This is a hot garbage take. The Marion County GOP consistently refuses to open more early-voting sites, while the Republican-leaning suburbs have more per capita than Indianapolis.

  1. Voting is a civic duty that all should take seriously. And, Civics should again be a primary subject in schools so that today’s students become tomorrow’s informed voters, able to objectively assess issues, platforms, and plans.

  2. These lines are an embarrassment. Sure, it’s great that people are going out to vote. I find it pathetic however, that the state government can’t get it’s act together enough so that it doesn’t take an entire day to do so. You don’t have this problem in every state. It’s usually red states that do what they can to restrict voting.

    1. You are so blindly biased. It’s the big cities that all vote blue where the issues lye because the organization is such a mess. When every idiot goes to vote on the first day the polls are open of course there will be a rush. Let a few days pass and the lines will be manageable.

  3. There’s no reason these early voting sites couldn’t have opened earlier if the Republican representative on the election board (who has been the hold up on satellite voting since 2009) would approve it. HamCo, which has 1/3rd the people of Marion County, has been using the county fairgrounds since Day 1 of early voting, and even got its other satellite sites open prior to the Marion County launch date.

    1. Because it’s the 1 GOP rep of the election board that’s stopping more early voting locations.

  4. I’ve voted in every election since 1990 on the north side of Marion County and never waited more than 10-15 minutes to vote until 2018 where I had to wait over 3 hours and now it sounds like more of the same. Something has changed for the worse. I know voting participation is up but not ten-fold. This is ridiculous. Anyone who says waiting hours to vote isn’t a deterrent is FOS. In 2018, I saw people stepping out of line and leaving or walking by and waving it off. Making voting more difficult is perhaps the most un-American thing anyone can do.

  5. As someone who has worked the polls in EVERY election for 30+ years in Hendricks County (except one when I was recovering from cancer surgery and could not work), you folks who demand more polls, more time to vote, and more of everything, tend to forget one salient fact: Poll workers are temporary hires and must be qualified. Many are older retirees (it’s a good gig if you can be awake 14 straight hours because you can’t leave the polling place once the doors are open), so many age out with every election…and this year, many who would normally volunteer are fearful of working the polls because of the Wuhan Virus. To have the polls open 24/7 for weeks on end, you have to have workers. It’s an ongoing problem not easily solved.

    1. Then maybe we should offer universal/no excuse mail-in voting and automatic voter registration, which has proven itself to be safe, secure, and effective all over the world.

      There, I solved it.

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