Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
Record number of Northwest Indiana voters are casting early ballots
urgent

Record number of Northwest Indiana voters are casting early ballots

{{featured_button_text}}
Record number of Northwest Indiana voters are casting early ballots

LaMonte Smith, of Merrillville, talks to a poll worker after voting Tuesday at the Lake County Government Center Administration Building. Smith was one of some 4,500 people who cast a ballot on Tuesday, more than triple the number of people at the polls on the first day of early voting in 2016.

Northwest Indiana voters aren't waiting to make their preferences known in this year's general election.

Election officials in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties are reporting record turnout at early voting sites, as well as an unprecedented number of mail-in absentee ballots going out to eligible voters.

"Our numbers are through the roof," said Michelle Fajman, director of the Lake County Board of Elections and Voter Registration.

Fajman said the first day of early voting, on Tuesday, saw 4,434 Lake County residents cast their ballots at one of 11 locations throughout the county.

That compares to just 1,400 ballots completed on the first day of early voting in the 2016 general election, Fajman said.

While Fajman conceded some early voting locations are seeing long lines, she said polling place staffers are "moving them through as quickly as possible."

Voting machines added

She said additional voting machines also have been deployed to the early voting sites in Gary and Schererville to accommodate the high turnout.

"So far it is going extremely well," Fajman said.

Porter County likewise is seeing significantly more early voters for this year's election than any other general election this century.

Nearly 2,000 Porter County residents cast their ballots at five sites Tuesday on the first day of early voting.

By the end of the day Wednesday, a total of 3,076 early votes have been tallied from Porter County, according to the Indiana secretary of state.

The Porter County Elections and Registration office said barely 500 ballots were cast on the first day of early voting for the prior presidential and gubernatorial election in 2016.

An official said Porter County election staff were too busy working the polls Thursday to speak with a reporter about how early voting is going in the county.

Elsewhere in Northwest Indiana, 1,606 LaPorte County early votes are in, 79 ballots in Newton County, and 322 in Jasper County, according to the secretary of state.

Mail-in balloting soaring

At the same time, the number of voters participating by mail this year, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, so far is even higher than the number of people coming out to vote early in person.

As of Wednesday, Lake County fulfilled 30,703 mail-in absentee ballot requests, Porter County sent out 12,363 ballots, and LaPorte County 6,728, according to the secretary of state.

State data show even in low population Newton County (684 mail-in ballot requests), and Jasper County (1,857), mail-in voting is very popular this year.

Eligible voters still can apply for a mail-in absentee ballot by logging into their online registration record at IndianaVoters.com, clicking the "Vote By Mail" button, and providing the required information.

Mail-in ballots currently must be returned no later than noon on Election Day, Nov. 3, to be counted in the final results.

In-person early voting is open to all registered voters and runs through Nov. 2. Hoosiers can go to any polling place in their county to cast an early ballot. 

Government-issued photo identification, such as a driver's license, passport or state ID, must be presented to vote early, or on Election Day, in Indiana.

Lake County locations, times

Early voting in Crown Point is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 31; 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; and 8:30 a.m. to noon on Nov. 2. Closed Sundays and Columbus Day (Oct. 12). 

All other sites are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 31; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; and from 9 a.m. to noon on Nov. 2. Closed Sundays and Columbus Day (Oct. 12).

Here are the locations for early voting in Lake County:

  • Crown Point: Lake County Election Board, Government Center Administration Building, 2293 N. Main St.
  • East Chicago: County Courthouse, 3711 Main St.
  • Gary: Genesis Center, 1 Genesis Plaza
  • Hammond: County Courthouse, 232 Russell St.
  • Highland: Wicker Park Social Center, 8854 Indianapolis Blvd.
  • Hobart: Police Communications Center, 705 E. Fourth St.
  • Lowell: Town Hall, 501 E. Main St.
  • Munster: Town Hall, 1005 Ridge Road
  • Schererville: Town Hall, 10 E. Joliet St.
  • St. John: Township Assessor, 9157 Wicker Ave.
  • Winfield: Town Hall, 10645 Randolph St.

Porter County locations, hours

Early voting locations across the county are open from 8:30 a.m to 3:30 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays through Oct. 30; 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24 and Oct. 31; and 8:30 a.m. to noon on Nov. 2.

Here are the locations for early voting in Porter County:

  • Chesterton: Town Hall, 790 Broadway
  • Hebron: Community Center, 611 N. Main St.
  • Portage: Porter County North County Annex, 3560 Willowcreek Road
  • Valparaiso: Porter County Administration Center, 155 Indiana Ave., Suite 102A
  • Valparaiso: Union Township Fire Station #2, 267 N. 600 West.

Lake County elections staff prepare for early voting

0
0
0
0
0

Get Election 2020 & Politics updates in your inbox!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alerts

Breaking News

Crime

Entertainment & Dining

Latest News

Local Sports

NWI Prep Sport News

Weather Alerts