Early voting at record pace

More Johnson County residents have cast a ballot in the first 10 days of early voting than ever before, election officials say.

More than 1,400 Johnson County residents have voted since early voting began on April 5.

With two weeks of early voting left, Johnson County Clerk Susie Misiniec is optimistic that 10,000 residents — or about 10 percent of all voters — will cast a ballot before Election Day, Misiniec said.

Misiniec and other county officials have been encouraging early voting as much as they can, she said.

About 80 to 100 voters have stopped in each day since early voting started at the beginning of the month, said Reagan Higdon, deputy clerk. The busiest time is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. as many voters are running errands or out to lunch, Higdon said.

As of this week, the county has more than 104,000 registered voters, which is likely contributing to the increase in early voting, Higdon said. Johnson County’s adult population was estimated at 110,016 in 2014, meaning that nearly 95 percent of the eligible population is registered to cast a ballot.

On Friday, Greenwood resident Gail Cloutier was leaving lunch when she decided to get her voting done early, Cloutier said.

Cloutier will almost always vote early when she can because of the convenience of having multiple days to stop in and cast her ballot when she chooses, as opposed to waiting until Election Day, she said.

Cloutier already knew who she was going to vote for, so it makes early voting even easier, she said.

“If you know who you’re going to vote for, come out and vote early,” Cloutier said.

On Friday, the Johnson County Courthouse continued to see a steady flow of early voters. As he walked into the basement of the courthouse, Greenwood resident Doug Marley was surprised to see so many people voting early, he said.

Marley doesn’t have a set schedule working as a truck driver, so voting early, or as soon as he can, has always been routine, he said. But this year, the amount of voters was more than he can remember, especially for a primary election, Marley said.

“I didn’t know this many people voted early,” Marley said. “I was surprised by how busy it was.”

Johnson County has traditionally struggled with getting residents to vote early, Misiniec said. But as of Friday morning, more than 700 early voters had stopped by the Johnson County Courthouse to cast their ballot, and more than 700 mail-in ballots have been received, she said.

“We are thrilled. This is the most early voting we have ever had,” Misiniec said. “It will be a busy Election Day and I think people realize that.”

Saturday voting will begin this week, which provides an opportunity for more people to cast a ballot, Misiniec said. The county will open four early voting sites on Saturday, Misiniec said.

At the two Greenwood locations, a combined 1,400 people made it out to vote in the 2014 general election, Higdon said.

With the number of early voters so far, Misiniec is optimistic that the county could set a new record for early voting turnout, she said.

“I know we will get to 1,000 early voters at the courthouse, maybe even 1,500,” Misiniec said. “But I’m still hoping for 10,000 (total). I hope to see other early voting locations reach 1,000 voters.”

If you go

Early voting continues through April 29. Here is a look at where you can vote this week:

Monday through Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Johnson County Courthouse, 5 E. Jefferson St., Franklin

Saturday: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Johnson County Courthouse, Franklin

Jonathan Byrd’s Cafeteria, 100 Byrd Way, Greenwood

Mount Pleasant Christian Church, 381 N. Bluff Road, Greenwood

Franklin Community Center, 396 Branigan Blvd., Franklin

Trafalgar Public Library, 424 S. Tower St., Trafalgar


Corey Elliot is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at celliot@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2719.