If you plan to vote early this spring, you will want to pay attention to some changes the county made this year.

Some longtime early voting sites have moved, and some will be open fewer days than in past elections.

Early voting for this year’s primary election begins at the Johnson County Courthouse on April 10. Sites throughout the county will be open the two Saturdays before election day, and the Thursday and Friday before the election. But with a traditionally low turnout, especially in the primary election, and a goal to save resources, officials decided to make some changes.

The changes have been made based on what officials have seen in past elections and because turnout will be lower in this election than during a presidential election, Johnson County Deputy Clerk Reagan Higdon said.

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For example, in past elections, satellite early voting sites around the county were open the week before election day, but now will be open Thursday through Saturday only.

Opening them for fewer days saves money, Higdon said.

“This allows us to conserve some resources. People would probably just be sitting there twiddling their thumbs if we kept those open,” she said.

The county also will not be using the Franklin Community Center as an early voting site, since people can just as easily go to the Johnson County Courthouse, which is less than a mile away, she said. Vineyard Community Church in Greenwood is being added as a new early voting site, replacing the former Jonathan Byrd’s Cafeteria.

Turnout was a key factor in making the changes, Higdon said.

Voters will be selecting one of three candidates to win the Republican nod for Johnson County Sheriff, which will be a race that will draw interest. But turnout is traditionally low in non-presidential elections, Higdon said. For example, in the 2014 countywide election that included the same offices, turnout was 9 percent in the primary, and 24 percent in the general.

Election officials drilled down on the numbers when making changes, including turnout at individual early voting sites in the evening hours when the courthouse was no longer open, Higdon said. Those numbers were low at multiple early voting sites in the week before the election, which helped officials decide to open them for fewer days, she said.

But turnout has traditionally been high on the two Saturdays before election day, and multiple sites will remain open those days, Higdon said. The courthouse will also be open every weekday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and early voting will also be offered at certain senior communities, which has also been popular in the past.

And, as always, officials will review what happened during the primary election to see what, if any, changes should be made for the general election in the fall, she said.

Where to vote

Here is a look at where you can vote early before the primary election:

Beginning April 10, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday

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

Saturday, April 28, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

  • Trafalgar Public Library, 424 S. Tower Street, Trafalgar
  • Vineyard Community Church, 512 S. Madison Ave., Greenwood
  • Johnson County Courthouse
  • Edinburgh Public Library, 119 W. Main Cross St, Edinburgh

Monday, April 30, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

  • Greenwood Village South Retirement Community, 295 Village Lane, Greenwood

Tuesday, May 1, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

  • Otterbein Senior Lifestyle Community, 1070 W. Jefferson St., Franklin

Wednesday, May 2, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

  • Indiana Masonic Home, 690 State St., Franklin

Thursday, May 3 and Friday, May 4, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

  • Vineyard Community Church
  • Mount Pleasant Christian Church, 381 N. Bluff Road, Greenwood
  • Trafalgar Public Library
  • Edinburgh Public Library

Saturday, May 5, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

  • Trafalgar Public Library
  • Vineyard Community Church
  • Johnson County Courthouse
  • Edinburgh Public Library
  • Mount Pleasant Christian Church
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Annie Goeller is managing editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at agoeller@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2718.