Indiana voters once again could have a say in who gets the nomination for president, and that means Johnson County has to be ready for a big turnout this spring.
Since Republican Party candidate John Kasich won Ohio over current leader Donald Trump this week, Indiana’s primary race could be a deciding factor for the GOP nominee, Johnson County Clerk Sue Anne Misiniec said. Typically, Indiana voters are not a significant deciding factor on who gets their party’s nomination because our elections are later than most other states.
But with the primary election less than two months away, and no clear candidate decided, that could mean Indiana voters will have more of a say.
More than 102,000 Johnson County residents are eligible to vote in the primary election. Typically, the county election board tries to decide on the number of voting centers needed earlier in the year, but with no clear presidential front-runner for the Republican or Democratic parties, it has been hard to estimate how many spots are needed to handle the demand of voters, she said.
“The reason I kind of dragged my feet is we still didn’t know what was going to happen,” Misiniec said. “We might become a big key player.”
Misiniec anticipates a larger crowd for this year’s primary, due to both local contested races and voting for the next president, she said.
The county is planning to have 21 vote centers open on Election Day, which is eight more than the last primary when only residents in cities and towns could vote. And seven polling sites will have double the amount of volunteers for the primary election, Misiniec said. Voting centers are required to have at least four poll workers at each location along with an inspector, but those sites will have at least eight, she said.
In addition, the county is doubling the number of sites where residents can vote early in the two Saturdays before Election Day, Misiniec said. Early voting begins April 5, and early voting centers will be set up at six locations by the end of the month.
If the vote centers are swarmed during the primary election, Misiniec will consider adding more sites or increasing the early voting hours at existing spots for the general election, she said.
“We know, regardless, it’ll be a big turn out this fall,” Misiniec said.
Both parties are registering last-minute voters for the primary election, and getting people scheduled to work at vote centers for both the primary and general election. Next week, representatives of both parties will visit Greenwood Village South assisted living facility to make sure residents are registered to vote, Rapp said.
Residents have been contacting representatives from the Democrat and Republican parties to ask if they can work at one of the polling sites on Election Day, said Democrat Party vice president Cindy Rapp and Republican Party Chair Beth Boyce.
“In a presidential year, you have so many that are aware of the election that maybe in an off year, they wouldn’t (be),” Boyce said.
Within the next few weeks, candidates will be allowed to put up lawn signs throughout the county, and voters will also hear from them in phone calls, door-to-door campaigning and advertisements by mail, and some of that has already begun, Boyce said.
After the primary, both parties are planning on having a voter registration booth at the Johnson County Fair and the Greenwood Freedom Festival this summer, Rapp and Boyce said.
Voters who need to register for the first time or update registration before the primary election have until the deadline on April 4. Here is a look at how to register:
– If you mail in your registration application, the form must be postmarked by April 4.
– Applications can be filled out at the clerk’s office in Johnson County courthouse, 5 Jefferson St., Franklin, or at any license branch.
– Voters can also apply online by going to https://indianavoters.in.gov/PublicSite/PublicMain.aspx