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IN voters casting ballots in special election

A mock election is underway to determine Indiana’s new state animal.

The Indiana Historical Bureau is sponsoring the unofficial contest in hopes to increase awareness of the state’s natural heritage. The primary election ends Monday and features critters from three different time periods: prehistoric, pioneer, and modern.

History Education Specialist Jill Weiss says one candidate has jumped out to an early lead.

"The Indiana State Museum had nominated the mastodon as one of three candidates for prehistoric. And it was running against Jefferson's ground sloth, which is a giant sloth, and the dire wolf, and the mastodon seems to be the clear favorite there."

She hopes the election will bring attention to some overlooked natural history in Indiana.

"Coming from a history standpoint, we tend to do a lot of focusing in school, you know, you learn about the Civil War, you learn about World War One. And then when you study Indiana, a lot of that natural heritage is sort of glossed over."

After the online primary process, Weiss says one animal from each time period moves on to the final round of voting at the Indiana State Fair.

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