Each week, more than 700 voters are registering for the first time or updating their information in preparation for the primary election.
Every day, a handful of people are calling to ask when they can cast their ballot early and asking for one to be mailed to them.
And for the next 12 days, county election workers are not expecting that demand to slow down.
Residents have until April 4 to register in time for the primary election, where voters will decide which local and national candidates will get their party’s nomination and move on to the general election this fall. But county employees are already seeing an uptick in residents registering to vote, updating their address or asking for mail-in early voting ballots, said Johnson County deputy clerk Reagan Higdon.
Johnson County Clerk Sue Anne Misiniec expects voting centers to be busy during the primary, especially since there is no clear candidate for the presidential candidate for both the Republican and Democrat parties, she said.
In anticipation of a higher turnout than past elections, the election board decided on 21 voting locations for the primary, which is more than the 19 spots that were set up during the 2012 primary election.
If turnout at the primary election is high, Misiniec plans to add more voting centers or have double the amount of machines at certain locations for the general election, she said.
Before voting begins, county employees will be updating the catalog of who is registered to vote, sending out emails to remind voters to head to the polls and training volunteers who will work at polling centers on Election Day and in early voting centers.
Right now, a handful of part-time and full-time employees are going through dozens of new voter registration applications daily, Higdon said.
Typically, the county clerk’s office receives between 20 to 30 online voter registration applications per day, but has been averaging between 50 to 80 per day recently, Higdon said. In addition, paper applications have averaged between 10 to 15 per day, compared to two or three the clerk’s office would normally receive, she said.
More than 200 residents already have requested mail-in early voting ballots for the primary election, which is more than double what the clerk’s office saw at this time last year, Higdon said.
Higdon anticipates more paper applications next week, as well as an uptick in total number of registered voters before the deadline April 4, she said. So far, 102,148 people are registered to vote in Johnson County, with more than 600 applications pending approval from the state, Higdon said. The number of registered voters is up more than 10 percent from the last presidential primary election in 2012, when 92,625 residents were signed up to vote.
Before the registration deadline, representatives from the Republican and Democratic parties will join Misiniec at retirement homes, assisted living facilities and other spots throughout the county to catch voters who need to register.
“We want everyone who possibly can vote to vote,” Misiniec said. “We seem to get most involved with voter registration especially with nursing homes, because they seem to vote faithfully, so they always want to be properly registered.”
The clerk’s office is also starting a new email reminder system. In the past, the county has reminded residents about the primary election through flyers in their tax bill, Higdon said. In addition to doing that, the county wanted to add email notifications, she said.
In the weeks before the primary, Higdon expects more than 26,000 emails will be sent to voters that share where to vote and the candidates on the ballot, she said. The email program even monitors how many people opened the message, or forwarded it to others, Higdon said.
Residents have until April 4th to register in order to vote in the primary election. Here’s a few ways you can register:
- You can double-check your registration or sign up by going to the Indiana Statewide Voter Registration System website, https://indianavoters.in.gov/PublicSite/PublicMain.aspx.
- Fill out a form at any Johnson County Public Library branch, the voter registration office inside the courthouse or any license branch. Residents should bring a photo ID if they are registering to vote for the first time.
- Voter registration can also be done at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles when renewing or updating a driver’s license.
- If you miss the April deadline, you have to wait until May 17 to register again in time for the general election.
With a few more weeks left before the primary election, the Johnson County clerk’s office is getting more voter registration applications and requests for mail-in early voting ballots. Here’s a look at how many more applications the clerk’s office is getting:
4 to 5: The number of residents calling into the voter registration office per day, asking about early voting
10 to 15: The average number of paper voter registration applications turned into the clerk’s office per day
50 to 80: The average number of online voter registration applications received by the clerk’s office per day
More than 200: The number of mail-in early voting ballots requested for the primary election so far
About 400: The number of voter registration applications received from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles office per week
Source: Reagan Higdon, deputy clerk of the Johnson County clerk’s office