BY DANIEL SUDDEATH and MATT KOESTERS
> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
Floyd County saw a rush of early voters Saturday, as 220 people cast ballots in seven hours.
Floyd County Clerk Linda Moeller said there was some confusion about the deadline to early vote, as she credited the high total of ballots submitted in part to an assumption by some that Saturday was the final day for the service.
“It’s easy to confuse all these deadline dates,” she said.
But Floyd County voters can cast early ballots through noon on Monday ahead of the general election on Tuesday. The clerk’s office will again be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday for early voting.
Today and Friday voters can cast ballots in the clerk’s office from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and from 8 a.m. to noon on Monday.
Oct. 8 was the first day for early voting, and Oct. 9 was the deadline for people to register to vote for Tuesday’s election. As of 2 p.m. on Wednesday, 2,120 early ballots had been cast in the clerk’s office, and 1,416 absentee ballots had been received in the mail.
Though there are still absentee ballots out and more early voters are expected, Moeller said it’s doubtful the early voting totals will equal the 2008 general election sum.
When President Barack Obama defeated Sen. John McCain in 2008, more than 7,000 early votes were received in Floyd County.
“But turnout at the polls was way down,” Moeller countered.
Students, military employees working overseas and shut-ins are the primary users of absentee ballots, she said. Early voting in the clerk’s office keeps people from waiting in long lines on Election Day, and also serves those who may have work conflicts on Tuesday, Moeller continued.
“This is just a convenience for people to make sure that everybody has the opportunity to vote,” she said.
Both the Democratic and Republican parties are still seeking poll workers for Tuesday, according to Moeller. Those interested in working can call the clerk’s office at 812-948-5415.
Polling sites will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday for the general election. For more information, visit the clerk’s website at www.floydcounty.in.gov/countyoffices/clerk.
CLARK COUNTY EARLY VOTING
About 7,000 ballots were cast before Election Day during the 2008 presidential election in Clark County, and this year’s election has a chance of meeting or even exceeding that.
“I think we’re going to push it really tight,” said Jim Lisanby, Democratic Party appointment to the Clark County Board of Elections. “With what we’ve got going in, I bet we had 300 or better [ballots cast] today. We’ve been real steady today.”
“We probably, today, went over 5,000,” said Gary Law, Republican appointment to the board.
Clark County Clerk Barbara Haas said that while walk-in early-voter turnout is down, the number of mailed-in absentee ballots has increased over 2008. Lisanby estimated voters at the Clark County Government Building waited between 15 and 20 minutes to cast ballots in person on Wednesday.
“It’s not anything near what it was like in ‘08,” Haas said. “In ‘08, some of them waited for hours. And they didn’t complain.”
Haas believes that the number of workers processing ballots contributed to the shortened wait. There are five teams, consisting of a member of each of the two major parties, handling the ballots.
“They’re processing them faster because there’s more people working,” Haas said.
The clerk’s office will be open for early voting today through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Monday from 9 a.m. to noon. Haas said Saturday could be busy, depending on the weather forecast on Tuesday, and added that voter turnout on Election Day could be down if the weather is bad.
“People don’t like to stand in that weather and wait to vote, and a lot of the time they’re standing outside,” she said.
A few voters have been turned away for lack of a photo I.D., Lisanby said. Casting a ballot early is just like going to the polls on Election Day. Identification cards must include the name, date of birth, a photo and an expiration date. Cards can be expired, but the expiration date can’t be before Nov. 2, 2010.