General election 2015 vignettes

A busy day

The line of registered voters stretched out the door and down the hall around lunchtime at one of Greenwood’s busiest polling sites.

The Greenwood Community Center has always been a central voting location and one of the busiest, so poll workers had little time to take a break for much of Election Day, inspector Mike Metzger said.

“We have maybe had one time where there was absolutely nobody in here,” Metzger said. “But for the most part we’ve had 10 to 15 people lined up out the door. It’s hard to get a bathroom break.”

The steady traffic was likely due to other vote centers being closed this election and the community center taking on a lot of those residents, Metzger said.

Earlier in the morning, the poll center had a machine that wasn’t functioning properly, and the computer program used to verify eligible voters was working slowly, Metzger said.

The community center had two workers at the voter check-in stations and two workers at the poll booths.

“If we had a couple more clerks and a couple more judges, it would help,” Metzger said. “For the majority of the first half of the day, the line has gone right out the door. I would expect it to be pretty steady.”

— Corey Elliot

Inside the green line

In the past, the White River library branch has been a popular spot for voters.

But with this year’s municipal election including Greenwood and a few towns, many residents in the nearby unincorporated Center Grove area weren’t able to vote.

Vote center inspector Tom Whitaker planned for the voters he expected to show up who weren’t eligible to cast a ballot.

In anticipation of turning those ineligible voters away, Whitaker wanted an easy way to show residents the city limits, where voters must live to cast a ballot in this election.

So he made a trip to the Greenwood city engineer’s office to get a map of the city and marked the border with a green marker.

That way, when voters had questions about whether they lived inside Greenwood, they could point to their home on the map, Whitaker said.

By midmorning, only one person had to be turned away from the White River library vote center, but Whitaker anticipated more throughout the day, he said.

— Abby Armbruster

Turned away

Poll workers had to turn away some voters on Election Day because they didn’t live within city limits.

At Greenwood City Center, a would-be voter walked in during the morning, expecting to cast a ballot, but was informed he lived outside the city limits and was not eligible to cast a ballot in city elections, inspector Allen Distler said.

Although the man had an address in Greenwood, he lives in an unincorporated part of Johnson County, Distler said.

Another man had moved within the past three months and needed to update his address, but he still lived within city limits, Distler said.

Only residents in Greenwood, Edinburgh, Bargersville and Whiteland were able to vote in this election. Franklin, Trafalgar, Prince’s Lakes and New Whiteland residents, as well as many other county residents, were not able to vote in this election.

— Abby Armbruster

Slow, but steady

A steady stream of voters headed to the polls, but not in high numbers.

By 7:15 a.m., Greenwood Community Center poll workers reported 67 voters during their morning rush.

Within the first few hours, there was at least one voter nearly all the time in the vote center, inspector Mike Metzger said.

At Greenwood City Center, fewer than 50 voters had stopped in by 8:30 a.m. Inspector Allen Distler did not anticipate large crowds but assumed the site would get a steady stream of people all day, he said.

— Abby Armbruster

Getting the votes

Greenwood City Council candidate Bruce Armstrong was trying to reach every resident in his district to get them to the polls.

“Low voter turnout hurts me. A high voter turnout helps me,” Armstrong said.

“The best way to get people to vote is to make sure they can put a face with the name and make sure they understand my position.”

Armstrong has spent the past month going door-to-door to talk with residents in his district. Although he wasn’t able to stop by every single home, he was able to cover multiple subdivisions, Armstrong said.

He spent a bit of time at the city building in the morning on Election Day but planned to spend most of his time at the Greenwood Community Center, one of the busiest vote centers, he said.

Mike Campbell, Linda Gibson and Brent Corey were all outside the community center starting at 6 a.m.

— Abby Armbruster

Collecting signatures

For hours, Curtis Garrett stood at the Greenwood Community Center with a clipboard in hand and a smile on his face.

“I’m going to be here until the polls close,” he said.

Garrett was collecting signatures for a petition to have Bernie Sanders added to the primary ballot for the 2016 presidential election. He showed up at 8 a.m., voted and then focused his attention on each voter who left.

Garrett had gotten more than 40 signatures in about four hours.

He chose the community center because it is usually one of the busier locations on Election Day, he said.

The petition must have signatures from residents who are registered to vote. Garrett volunteered to spend Tuesday obtaining signatures after he was notified about a need for volunteers in the Greenwood area last week. He was one of many across the state who were out at polls collecting signatures Tuesday, he said.

“Forty signatures isn’t enough, but if we have people in a lot of different places doing this, people working together, we can accomplish things.”

— Corey Elliot

Not taking the day off

Running unopposed is not a reason to take Election Day off for Greenwood officials.

Jeannine Myers was unopposed for her bid for re-election as city clerk, and Linda Gibson was not challenged for her city council seat. But both were out in front of the Greenwood Community Center on Tuesday greeting voters, mingling with fellow members of the Republican Party and chatting with Democratic candidates.

“You could sit at home,” Gibson said. “But we need to support other Republicans and introduce ourselves to Democrats. You never know who you’re going to be working with.”

Gibson passed out candy to voters, and Myers brought coffee and doughnuts for all candidates.

Gibson and Myers both planned to spend the day outside the front doors of the community center, and neither planned to leave before the polls closed.

“Nobody asked us to come out,” Gibson said. “But even as an unopposed candidate, voters expect to see us here. They need to know you’re serious.”

— Corey Elliot

Teaching them young

Greenwood residents Katie Cordell and Chris Terrell both brought their children to the polls with them.

Six-year-old Andy, Cordell’s son, wanted to come to the vote at the Greenwood Community Center with his mom.

“We planned on it. I asked him last night if he wanted to come with me, and he said yes,” Cordell said.

“I think this is something that all children should know how to do and be aware of the freedoms we have.”

Andy attends Our Lady of the Greenwood Catholic School, so Cordell is most concerned about what will happen to the Greenwood Middle School building once a new middle school is built on Averitt Road.

Cordell doesn’t have any specific ideas of what should move into the existing building but wants it to be appropriate for students at Our Lady of the Greenwood to see, since they’re right across the street, she said.

Terrell and her 9-year-old daughter Anneliese went through the ballot together, to show Anneliese how an electronic ballot works, Terrell said.

Anneliese has been to a voting center one time previously, but she was too young to remember it, Terrell said.

— Abby Armbruster

A new way to vote

Jane Huntress had never seen anything like the setup at the vote center in Community Church of Greenwood. She moved to Greenwood in 2014 from New Hampshire, and Tuesday was her first time voting as an Indiana resident.

In the time she has lived in Greenwood, she has become accustomed with some of the names on the ballot. But how she voted was a different experience.

“In New Hampshire, it’s a paper ballot and a Sharpie,” Huntress said. “Voting electronic is different.”

Even though she didn’t know a lot about some of the candidates on her ballot, getting out to vote was important, Huntress said.

“If you don’t vote, you’re a part of the problem. It’s important to get out here.”

— Corey Elliot

Changing the time

As soon as the vote center at the Greenwood Community Center opened Tuesday, an IT technician spotted something unusual: All of the polling device’s clocks were set back by an hour.

That meant the computers wouldn’t close voting until 7 p.m., instead of when polls close at 6 p.m.

The technician was able to fix all of the internal clocks within about 10 minutes, inspector Mike Metzger said.

The voting center still opened on time, and about 56 residents stopped by in the first hour.

— Abby Armbruster

Author photo
Annie Goeller is managing editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at or 317-736-2718.