In response to people waiting up to eight hours to cast a ballot at early voting sites in Marion County the clerk’s office is extending voting hours at the City-County Building starting Wednesday.
The new expanded early voting hours are: Wednesday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Monday from 8 a.m. until noon.
Five additional satellite locations opened this past weekend will continue to operate on regular hours.
Before 2018, Marion County voters only had one location to cast a ballot early. Expansion of sites came after a 2018 settlement, the result of a lawsuit filed by Common Cause Indiana against the Marion County Election Board.
Common Cause Policy Director Julia Vaughn says Republicans blocked efforts to add sites saying early voting was too costly and not secure.
"That’s completely bogus," Vaughn said, "it was a political decision and unfortunately it took a federal lawsuit to end that restriction and put satellite voting back here in Marion County."
The popularity of early voting has grown in the past decade. Indianapolis donut counties all have more early voting locations per person than in Marion County.
Vaughn says the local election board would have to make a unanimous decision to add more sites for next election.
"Let’s plan for record high turn out every year," Vaughn said. "We might not get it, but at least we won’t have situations where voters are having to wait most of the day to cast their ballot."
Indiana is one of only a handful of states that did not expand unrestricted mail in voting for the general elections.
More than 125,000 people in Marion County have voted early either in person or by mail.