VALPARAISO | Early voting in Porter County is stronger this year than the last record-breaking presidential election in 2008, according to a local election official.
The number of ballots cast by the end of last week was on track to exceed a total of 17,000 from four years ago, said Kathy Kozuszek, the Democratic director at the county voter registration office. The general election is Tuesday.
While there are several hotly disputed races at the local and state levels, Kozuszek said she believes the large voter turnout is being driven by the presidential race.
The number of registered voters in the county has also grown over the last four years from 100,000 to 114,000, she said.
The large turnout has resulted in some increased wait times for voters at the satellite balloting sites in Chesterton and Portage, said Republican Voter Registration Director Sundae Schoon.
"You're going to wait," she said.
Kozuszek said 730 ballots were cast during a seven-hour period Wednesday at the three polling places at the county administration center, north county complex in Portage and Chesterton Town Hall.
"Just be patient," she said. "They're (poll workers) out there ensuring their fellow Americans' right to vote."
Whether casting an early ballot by the deadline at noon Monday or waiting until Election Day, voters are urged not to wait until they show up at the polls to confirm they are registered to vote and if they are at the right polling place.
Voters can learn all they need to know about their registration status, polling site and even the candidates on their ballot by visiting indianavoters.com or by calling (866) IN-1-VOTE (461-8683), Kozuszek said.
"The voters have to take a little initiative on their part," she said.
If anyone runs into problems at a polling place and is being turned away without casting a ballot, they should have a poll worker call the voter registration office, Kozuszek said.
Voters also can place their own calls at (219) 465-3638, (219) 465-3635, (219) 465-3594, (219) 465-3496 or (219) 465-3398.
The growing number of early voters is prompting a cry from election officials for more space.
Kozuszek said the voter registration office is no longer big enough to handle the large number of voters or provide the room needed for staff. She said the office needs its own building.