Voters lined up, ready to cast their ballot when Tippecanoe County polls opened Wednesday – the first day of early voting in Indiana.
It was a 45 minute wait when the poll opened at noon in Stewart Center on the Purdue campus.
That didn’t deter people of all ages and occupations who say their minds are set on having a say in the future of the nation, as well as avoiding a long wait on what’s expected to be record turn-out for the November 8 General Election.
Purdue student Lasawni Reynolds and university staff member Nathan Engelberth say it’s convenient to vote on campus.
“It makes sense to take advantage of a life-changing opportunity,” Reynolds says. “There’s no point in passing it up if I have the time available to vote.”
“Four years ago the lines on voting day were very long so we figured we would take advantage,” Engelberth says. “And, it worked well. We went and got our flu shots, and then we voted.”
The opportunity to vote marked a personal milestone for Jeanine Gnang, a second-year doctoral student in Purdue’s statistics program.
Gnang says she moved to the United States 17 years ago, leaving behind her homeland of Togo in West Africa.
“I just knew who I wanted to vote for very early on,” Gnang says. “I’ve been a citizen for two years so this is my first time voting for the elections and I just felt like doing my civic duty.”
The voters say they have no qualms about casting a ballot while the candidates are still campaigning. Engelberth and Gnang say their opinions can’t be changed in the weeks leading up to November 8.
Purdue senior Christopher Allen says he has spent the past month researching the candidates. “And the more familiar I get, the more reinforced my vote has gotten,” Allen says.
Allen says state education issues and the presidential race are the two main reasons he turned out to vote. “I have a 7-year old daughter and the future of our country is important to me because I want to make sure it’s good for her,” Allen says.
Purdue staff member Liz Lukens says she has similar concerns.
“I have a daughter,” Lukens says. “I am a woman. I’m very concerned about that, and I wanted to get out here and make sure that I voted for people that were following what I follow or what I believe.”
County Clerk Christa Coffey delivered two additional voting machines to shorten the wait at the Stewart Center poll.
Even with the early voting locations, she says voters should expect to stand in line.
“Don’t come if you have just 5 minutes to wait because there will be a line to either check in or vote or maybe both, so plan accordingly,” Coffey says.
The county may add more opportunities for early voting, depending on demand.
The bottom line, she says, is people need to be patient.
To see the dates and locations of early vote centers in Tippecanoe County click here.
To see the ballot for your precinct click here.