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Early voting in Elkhart County spikes compared to 2010

County Clerk Wendy Hudson partially attributed the increase to a mailing her office sent detailing how to vote early.

Posted on May 5, 2014 at 6:12 p.m.

The number of early voters ahead of Election Day nearly doubled compared to 2010, according to numbers released Monday, May 5, from the Elkhart County Clerk's Office.

That doesn't necessarily mean that turnout in voting on Tuesday will be nearly double of that four years ago.

Elkhart County Clerk Wendy Hudson attributed the spike this year in part to an earlier mailing from her office spelling out how to vote absentee. The total number of ballots cast by the end of early, or absentee, voting at noon Monday reached 2,559, up 89.3 percent from 1,352 in 2010.

Turnout is typically higher in presidential election years but since 2014 isn't a presidential year, Hudson said 2010, also not a presidential year, is the most apt comparison.

Of the 2,559 ballots, 1,506 were cast at four absentee locations in the county, 849 were cast via mail and 204 were submitted to traveling boards geared to elderly and those who have difficulty traveling.

Among the big issues in voting this cycle are referendum questions put forth by the Elkhart and Concord school districts to raise property taxes to offset losses stemming from property tax caps. Hudson said she hopes that spurs turnout Tuesday.

Other races of note Tuesday in Elkhart County are the District 48 and District 22 Indiana House contests, the Democratic race for the 2nd District U.S. House seat and the Elkhart Superior Court 3 contest.

Elkhart County Democratic Party Chairwoman Shari Mellin doesn't expect overwhelming turnout Tuesday. But she also singled out the school referendum questions as possible spurs to voting.

In a change from previous years, Election Day voting this go-round will take place at newly formed voting centers. Instead of going to locations specific to each precinct, voters will be able to cast ballots at any of the 25 voting centers scattered around Elkhart County.

Follow reporter Tim Vandenack on Twitter at @timvandenack or visit him on Facebook.


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