The nation is now less than three weeks of the country’s General Election — and as it appears voter turnout across the country could reach record levels, that trend is holding true here in Switzerland County, as well.
Switzerland County Clerk Gayle Sullivan says that a week into early voting in the Switzerland County Courthouse things are hopping.
“We’re really busy downstairs,” Sullivan said. “Everything is going really well. We have our basic hiccups, but everything’s going well overall. It’s kind of crazy for those ladies downstairs.”
Sullivan said that as of Tuesday morning, a total of 337 people had come to the courthouse to vote early. Voting at the courthouse began just last Tuesday, October 6th, and the courthouse was closed on Monday for Indigenous Peoples Day so those number cover less than six days.
That number compares with a primary early turnout of just over 200.
The 337 number was purely early voting, also, as Sullivan said that her office has also already received 430 absentee ballots as of last Friday, October 9th. Those ballots are securely stored in the courthouse, but won’t be counted and entered into the system until Election Day, Tuesday, November 3rd.
“That’s not counting who has requested absentee ballots but hasn’t returned it yet,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan said that she hasn’t had the time to compare the early voting to the figures from 2016, but she notes that the county’s number of registered voters has increased to 7,100.
“We jumped up quite a bit from the primary,” she said.
So, with 7,100 registered voters and 337 having already voted in the courthouse and another 430 absentee ballots already returned — that’s a total so far of 767. That means that nearly 11-percent of eligible Switzerland County voters have already cast their ballots — and more are coming in each day.
Sullivan noted that those people who requested an absentee ballot need to have those returned to the clerk’s office by noon on Election Day in order to be counted. She noted that other states around the country allow for the ballot to be merely postmarked by Election Day, but currently Indiana requires that the ballot actually arrive. She noted that absentee ballots can be returned by mail, or they can be brought to the clerk’s office in person — but if it is returned in person, the person casting the ballot or someone who lives in their household are the only onces eligible to return it.
With turnout already in double digits, as the county begins to hold its traveling election centers beginning next Thursday, October 22nd, there’s reason to believe that county voters will turn out in record numbers.
The traveling vote centers have been utilized here in the county for the past several elections, giving county voters a better opportunity to cast their ballot at a time and location that is convenient for them.
It should be noted that any Switzerland County voter can vote at any site during the election cycle — voters are not limited to just when the vote center is in their area of the county.
The Vote Center schedule includes:
• Moorefield Firehouse: Voting at the Moorefield Firehouse will be available on Thursday, October 22nd from 8 a.m. until noon; and on Friday, October 23rd from 2-6 p.m.
• East Enterprise Firehouse: Voting at the East Enterprise Firehouse will be available on Saturday, October 24th from 8 a.m. until noon; and on Monday, October 26th from 2-6 p.m.
• Posey Township Firehouse: Voting at the Posey Township Firehouse will be available on Tuesday, October 27th from 8 a.m. until noon; and on Wednesday, October 28th from 2-6 p.m.
• Florence Firehouse: Voting at the Florence Firehouse will be available on Thursday, October 29th from 8 a.m. until noon; and on Friday, October 30th from 2-6 p.m.
• Switzerland County TEC Center: Voting at the Switzerland County TEC Center Building will be available on Saturday, October 31st from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.; and on Monday, November 2nd from 8 a.m. until noon.
• Switzerland County Courthouse: Voting will take place in the basement of the courthouse beginning on Tuesday, October 6th and run through Monday, November 2nd.
Hours are Monday through Wednesday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to noon and from 1-3 p.m. On Thursday, voting is open from 8:30-11:30 a.m.
On Saturday, October 24th and on Saturday, October 31st, residents can vote at the courthouse from 8 a.m. until noon.
Voting will also be available in the basement of the courthouse on Monday, November 2nd, from 8 a.m. until noon.
It should be noted that on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3rd, the only polling place that will be open in the county will be the Switzerland County TEC Center Building. Voting will be available there from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.