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May 9, 2014

NASH: A 2014 primary recap

— The primary election is over and the winners can rest easy for a couple of weeks until they have to start campaigning for the November general election. All of the candidates are to be commended for putting their names on the ballot and giving us a choice on whether to put our faith in them. It takes a lot for a person to open up their lives to this type of scrutiny and everyone that does it should be applauded.

Vote centers were utilized for the first time in Floyd County and I had a mixed reaction to their success. Traditionally I go to vote very early, usually within the first hour of the polls being open. This year I decided to wait until after work so that my wife and I could vote together with our kids. I had heard from different sources that turnout was very low across Southern Indiana and was surprised when I walked in the door at Grace Lutheran Church where there was a decent size line.

There was a little confusion walking in because the line was for people that had already signed in and had received a small printout that authorized them to vote. We had to break through that line to get to the first check-in spot and the logistics were a little confusing. Most of the time the other people in line would direct the people coming in on where to go so it made it a little easier.

With about 30 people ahead of us as we proceeded to vote the line moved steadily and we were in and out in about 20 minutes. The only complaint I have was the room that the voting machines were in was very small and voters were shoulder to shoulder. Voting has traditionally been a secret ballot, for years being behind a curtain. With so many people voting at the same time so close together, I could have sat there and told you exactly who the people on each side of me voted for.

It was a little awkward handing my printout of who I elected to election officials to have them sign it. They didn’t really look at the sheet of paper but easily could have. I like the idea of there being a paper trail that can be followed in case of computer malfunction, but wonder if there is a way to do it while maintaining a little secrecy.

Since the election is over all of the candidates should have gone around and removed all of their yard signs by now. I understand this is a very important part of the election process, but now they can be put away until fall. Some of those signs have been out for nearly a year and I am ready for them to be gone. Hopefully they won’t be seen again until at least Labor Day.

Many people believe that it takes a lot of signs to win an election, but I don’t think that is necessarily the case. Just observing it seems that one of the candidates with the highest sign proliferation and had been out the longest was actually a loser on Tuesday. I hope that future candidates notice this and put their signs up in moderation.

Another question about yard signs was the design of one of the candidates for judge. With Judge Glenn Hancock retiring from the bench there were two people from each party vying for his seat. Republican candidate Jim Hancock had signs that closely resembled some that Judge Hancock used in a previous election.

In an interview in another newspaper candidate Hancock denied that he was trying to copy the ones used by the judge in previous campaigns. When I first saw the signs driving home from work a couple of months ago I actually did a double-take before I realized what had occurred. Besides the color scheme, font and design they are totally different signs. If you were to take a look at the 4-by-8 foot signs with a magnifying glass you would see his first name clearly in the disclaimer.

For a candidate to want to represent us as judge he should be above gimmicks to get elected. If he really wanted to differentiate between himself and the popular sitting judge he may have went ahead and placed his first name prominently on the signs. His opponent in the primary who has much less political experience or name recognition went a step further and put his picture on many of his signs.

Indiana’s primary election is over but we will still have to hear about cockfighting and whether or not a Kentucky Senate candidate went to MIT for a couple of weeks. After the Kentucky primary is over we can forget about politics around here for a few months. Lately we seem to have been in a perpetual election cycle that seems to never end. Candidates are already announcing runs for the 2015 governor’s race in Kentucky and soon 2016 presidential hopefuls will start to make it official.

The more and more you hear about elections it seems the fewer and fewer people turn out to vote. Locally the voter turnout was considered lackluster with just a small percentage of people helping to choose our leaders. Hopefully the few that did vote made the right choices and gave us the best possible candidates for the general election.

— Matthew Nash can be reached at dmatthewnash@gmail.com

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