Early vote swells ahead of Election Day

GOSHEN — As early voting concluded Monday, 3,005 people in Elkhart County’s cities and towns had already cast their ballots. 

Christopher Anderson, clerk of the Elkhart County Circuit Court, was pleasantly surprised. 

“I’m pleased with the numbers,” he said. “There’s a very well-contested race for mayor in the City of Elkhart.”

He said other contested races, such as City Council at-large in Elkhart and clerk-treasurer in Goshen, were also among the drivers for the high absentee results.

Anderson projected last week that early voting in the general election would reach 2,600, but voters continued to cast ballots in high numbers Monday. 

In 2015, which Anderson called a typical year, the total was 1,994. The 2019 primary, which included an Elkhart Community Schools referendum question, drew 2,475 early votes.

Total participation among the 54,000 registered voters in Elkhart County was 21 percent in 2015. Anderson thinks this year’s election will beat that.

More than 150 people will be working Tuesday to ensure every vote is counted as municipal government leaders are selected. Poll workers are spread throughout 27 vote centers in the county’s cities and towns, which all are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Some polling places will have more staff and voting equipment than others, based on how many voters are expected to turn out at each location. But should the projections be wrong, Anderson said, adjustments can be made quickly.

“If it does show that Jimtown High School is busier than what three people and two machines can handle, all we have to do is deliver machines, because every machine has every single voter on it,” Anderson said.

The county implemented new voting machines in this year’s primary election.

At least 10 people will be at the Goshen Courthouse counting votes Tuesday evening. All votes in the county will be counted there, according to Anderson.

“We’re hoping that we can be done at 8 p.m.,” he said.

Voters need to be registered to vote in one of the municipalities of Elkhart, Goshen, Millersburg or Bristol and should bring a valid photo ID to cast a ballot.

Follow Rasmus S. Jorgensen on Twitter at @ReadRasmus

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