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Hoosiers Break Early Voting Record, Near-Record Turnout In Tippecanoe County

Jashin Lin

More Hoosiers have voted early this year than during the previous two Presidential elections.

And, state election officials expect that number will continue to climb until early voting ends at noon Monday.

Unlike absentee voting, any registered voter can vote early in-person for any reason. And Hoosiers are taking advantage of that by the thousands.

In 2008, more than 662,000 Hoosiers voted early.  By Friday afternoon, Indiana voters had exceeded that record by more than 2,000 people –nearly 14 percent of registered voters.

There’s no way to predict which candidates might be ahead because in-person early ballots and absentee ballots will be counted after the polls close at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

By Friday morning, nearly 25,000 people had cast early ballots in Tippecanoe County, nearly 22 percent of the county’s registered voters.

Clerk Christa Coffey expected that number to increase with one more day of early voting from noon until 7 p.m. on Saturday at any of the four PayLess grocery stores in Lafayette and West Lafayette.

Also, early ballots can be cast at the county office building from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday, and from 8 a.m. until noon on Monday.

In Monroe County, where 21 percent of registered voters already cast ballots, Clerk Nicole Browne says lines at polling places could still be long on Election Day.

“We do anticipate better than average turnout on election day since early voting has been an indication that there will be better than average turnout,” Browne says.

Early voting is expected to account for one-third of the vote this year.

Nationwide, more than 30 million Americans have voted early.

Previously reported Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016, by Chris Morisse Vizza.

Tippecanoe County Clerk Christa Coffey estimates local turnout in this presidential election will be about 63 percent, just shy of the 67 percent benchmark set in the 2008 contest between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain.

Coffey says her prediction is based on early voter turnout, which so far hasn’t kept pace with the number of early ballots cast eight years ago.

Despite memories of long lines at busy polls, such as at the county fairgrounds, the fire station at Creasy Lane and Union Street and the Purdue Memorial Union, Coffey says she’s beginning to think some people are waiting until November 8.

“Every Friday it seems like we have some October surprise for one campaign or the other in the presidential race,” Coffey says. “So I’m wondering now if people who still aren’t completely certain won’t wait until Election Day to vote.”

Coffey cautions that actual turnout could increase if voters wait until next week.

Early voting will continue each day this week through Saturday at any of the four PayLess grocery Stores in Lafayette and West Lafayette, and at the county office building in downtown Lafayette.

The Wait

Coffey says the average wait time has been about 20 minutes at the grocery stores.

She says the computer equipment is working well. 

The delay occurs when people stop to read the ballot question to amend the state constitution to guarantee individuals’ rights to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife.

“The wait time has been with waiting for a voting machine because if people haven’t researched that constitutional question, they have to read it in the booth,” Coffey says.

Voters also need to be prepared to decide whether to retain Judge Patricia A. Riley and Judge James S. Kirsch on the Indiana Court of Appeals.

And, there candidates to choose for the Benton, Lafayette, Tippecanoe and West Lafayette school boards.

Coffey expects the lines and the wait time will be much longer on Election Day, even though the county plans to deploy more than 150 poll workers and 280 voting machines to 19 vote centers.

“That’s why I’ve been trying to say to everyone, don’t expect the first release of information before 8 or 9 p.m. because we will have lines and they will be voting well after 6 p.m.,” Coffey says.

Where To Vote Early

Voters can cast an early ballot each day this week through Saturday, November 5, from noon until 7 p.m. at any of the PayLess grocery stores in Lafayette and West Lafayette.

Voters also can cast an early ballot now through Saturday from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the county office building at the corner of Third and Columbia streets in downtown Lafayette.

The last day to cast an early ballot will be Monday between 8 a.m. and noon at the county building.

To see the early voting schedule click here.

Where To Vote On Election Day, Nov. 8

To see Tippecanoe County vote center locations for Tuesday, Nov. 8, click here.

To see a sample Tippecanoe County ballot click here.

For information on the constitutional amendment to preserve the right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife click here.

For information on Indiana Court of Appeals judge retention click here.

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