Early voting turnout strong - Clerk: 1-in-5 has already cast ballot in Johnson County

Center Grove area resident Luke Walker wanted to get voting out of the way this weekend, called ahead and found out there would be a line at the nearest vote center at Mount Pleasant Christian Church.

Walker came prepared, bringing a book, headphones and a smart phone with Internet access. He ended up needing all three to keep busy while standing in a winding line that snaked through rooms and hallways in the church.

He was one of about 800 residents who waited in line more than an hour to vote at Mount Pleasant. Lines were much shorter at the voting sites in Franklin and Trafalgar Saturday, but it was still the busiest day during this year’s record-breaking early voting turnout, deputy clerk Reagan Higdon said.

About one in five registered voters in Johnson County have already cast their ballots, and the county’s top election official is expecting a big turnout on Election Day as well.

A total of 20,380 ballots were cast through the end of Saturday, Higdon said. The early voting turnout had nearly tripled the record set in 2008 of 7,288 absentee ballots cast before Election Day, with early voting continuing through noon today at the courthouse.

The number of early votes cast already exceeds the total number of votes during last year’s municipal general election in Johnson County. About 13,000 residents voted for the mayors of Franklin and Greenwood and other city and town offices last fall.

Diane and Greg Williams voted early for the first time this year, hoping to beat the crowds they expect on Election Day. They were surprised to find about 150 to 200 people waiting in line before them to vote at Mount Pleasant Saturday afternoon.

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