June 2, 2020

Election Day: Long Lines, Absentee Issues And Passionate Voters


People waited to vote at North Central High School.  - Jill Sheridan WFYI

People waited to vote at North Central High School.

Jill Sheridan WFYI

Long, socially distanced lines were seen at Marion County’s 22 polling locations on Election Day.  Numerous changes were introduced to the voting experience Tuesday because of COVID-19.  

Indiana's came a month late because of COVID-19 and, for the first time, all voters were allowed to vote by mail. The Marion County Clerk’s Office sent out more than 122,000 absentee ballots, but many did not receive them including voter Ben Jesop.

"Yeah, it didn’t arrive," says Jesop.

Marion County Clerk Myla Eldridge (D) requested an extension from state officials on the noon deadline for absentee ballots to be hand delivered.

But Marion County Republican Party Chair Cindy Kirchhofer says the clerk’s efforts weren’t sufficient.

"We won’t know," says Kirchhoffer, "we won’t know for days or weeks to the extent that absentee ballots were not put in the mail or unable to be returned."

Poll workers started to count absentee ballots this morning and will continue to count at the Election Service Center until they are all processed.

A record number of absentee ballots were received in Marion County, more than 122,000.  Marion County Republican Party Chair Cindy Kirchhofer joined many who weren’t able to vote by mail.

"The labels were wrong, my ballot was wrong," Kirchhofer says.

Linda Langford Hill says she thought it looked like a good turn out for a Primary Election.

"I guess people are just getting tired and we all need justice and equal opportunity and equality in the United States," says Langford. 

George Howard says he votes no matter what.

"Honestly nothing would stop me from ever participating in these elections," says Howard. "Free and fair elections in the United States is paramount and it’s the building blocks of our society."

Deputy Director of the Marion County Clerk’s Office, Russell Hollis says they expected to see long lines at polling sites Tuesday.

"The lines were longer because of the six foot social distancing requirements," says Hollis.

Only 3,500 people voted early, compared to 8,700 in the 2016 primary.

With presidential and gubernatorial candidates set, voters in Marion County are deciding school referendums, state senator and representative candidates and a number of county offices including treasurer and coroner.

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