Hamilton County voter turnout dips to single digits

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Hamilton County’s voter turnout dipped into single digits in Tuesday's general election.

With only a couple contested racesand none considered competitive—only 8.6 percent of registered voters in the 105 precincts with an election cast a ballot.

In the primary earlier this year, when there were several contested mayoral races, turnout hit about 16 percent.

Even though most races in Hamilton County are determined in the primary, voter turnout has usually been slightly higher in general elections. In 2011, for example, turnout in the November election was 15.8 percent and in the May primary was 14.6 percent.

That trend goes back at least to 2007 and 2003—the last year documents are available online through the Hamilton County Election’s Office. However, in all of those general elections, one of the contested races was for mayor and this year each city's top elected official wasn't challenged.

Fishers and Noblesville each had one contested city council race for voters to decide on Tuesday but there weren’t any upsets.

Republican incumbents Richard Block, Cecilia Coble and Todd Zimmerman kept their at-large Fisher City Council seats against Democrat Greg Purvis, who received about 17 percent of the votes.

In Noblesville, Republicans Brian Ayer, Mark Boice and Mary Sue Rowland will serve in the at-large roles on the new nine-person council as the city transitions from third-class designation to second-class. The council previously had seven positions, with two reserved for at-large representatives.

Carmel and Westfield did not have elections because there were no contested races. Republican Mayor Jim Brainard will go on to serve his sixth term in Carmel with an all-Republican city council. Brainard defeated Republican Rick Sharp, who is currently city council president, in the May primary.

Republican Westfield Mayor Andy Cook will return for his third term after winning against Republican Jeff Harpe in the primary.

Arcadia and Cicero also held elections. In the only contested race in Arcadia, Republican Randy Hill defeated independent Jeff Lockridge for town council District 1. In the race for Cicero town clerk-treasurer, Democrat Jan Unger beat Republican Susan Underwood. None of the town council races were contested.

Turnout was much better in Marion County, with nearly 23 percent of registered voters casting a ballot. Democrat Joe Hogsett won the race for mayor against Republican Chuck Brewer, and Democrats maintained control of the City-County Council.

Boone County had an even better showing than Hamilton and Marion counties, with close to 28 percent voter turnout. Lebanon and Whitestown had contested races on the ballot, and Zionsville voters weighed in on a school funding referendum.

Republican Matt Gentry will be Lebanon’s next mayor at age 26, and Republicans Dan Fleming and Jeremy Lamar won the two at-large council seats.

In Whitestown, which had all Independent candidates, Amanda Andrews won the race for clerk-treasurer, Eric Miller won the district 3 council contest and Jeffrey Wishek will represent District 4 on the town council.

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