Election Day is Nov. 8, but Indiana voters don’t have to wait until then to cast their ballots. Early voting begins at the Johnson County Courthouse on Wednesday.

All registered voters in the county can stop by the courthouse Monday through Friday until Nov. 7 to cast their votes in the 2022 general election.

Four additional early voting locations around the county will also be open on two Saturdays — Oct. 29 and Nov. 5 — and during the week before Election Day. These satellite locations will be at the White River Public Library, Greenwood Public Library, Trafalgar Public Library and John R. Drybread Community Center in Edinburgh.

People who haven’t registered to vote in the election still have time to register by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday. Voters can register online or deliver their application to the Johnson County courthouse, said Trena McLaughlin, Johnson County clerk.

The ballot

McLaughlin could not predict if early voting turnout would be up or down this year, compared to past years. The county shattered a record for early voting during the election in 2020, when over 48,000 people cast ballots early, compared to 38,000 in 2016.

Voter turnout for a midterm election is typically lower because it can lack hot-ticket races, such as U.S. president. The races on the ballot affect the turnout, McLaughlin said. Early voting turnout during the last midterm in 2018 was about 24,000 people.

Most local races in Johnson County are uncontested, from the county council and commissioners to all the county-wide offices, including prosecutor, sheriff, clerk, recorder and auditor.

Uncontested county-wide candidates this year include incumbent McLaughlin for county clerk, Elizabeth Ann Alvey for county auditor, incumbent Teresa Petro for county recorder, Mike Watkins for county assessor and incumbent Duane Burgess for sheriff. Lance Hamner, a former judge who unseated incumbent Joe Villanueva in the Republican primary for county prosecutor, will also be uncontested.

Johnson County Commissioner Kevin Walls, a Republican, is not challenged in his reelection bid.

Republican candidates on the ballot for Johnson County Council are Pamela J. Burton in District 1, Charlotte Sullivan in District 2, incumbent Jon Myers in District 3 and John Mallers in District 4.

Sullivan, however, moved out of state, but did not have enough notice to remove her name from the ballot before it was finalized. She will appear on the ballot, but will not serve on the county council come January, when the Johnson County Republican Party will hold a caucus to fill the seat.

In Bargersville, Republican incumbent Andrew Greenwood and Republican newcomer James “Jamie” Pfeifer are uncontested for at-large seats on the town council. In Edinburgh, Republican incumbents Marshall Ryan Piercefield and Debra Buck, have a clear path to retain their seats on the town council. Unchallenged candidates for two New Whiteland Town Council seats are Republicans John Schilawski in Ward 5 and John Purdie in Ward 2.

Some township races are contested on the ballot this year. Democrat Suzanne Fortenberry is challenging Republican incumbent Mark Messick for White River Township trustee. Seats on the White River, Clark, Pleasant and Franklin Union Needham township boards are also contested.

Some races at the state level will be contested, including the statewide races for Indiana’s secretary of state, auditor and treasurer.

The race for one of Indiana’s U.S. Senate seats is contested in a three-way race. Republican Sen. Todd Young will face Democrat Tom McDermott, the mayor of Hammond and Libertarian James Sceniak, of Greenwood.

Also in Congress, U.S. Rep. Greg Pence, a Republican, is challenged by Democrat Cinde Wirth in the Sixth Congressional District race.

There is also a choice to make for the Indiana Senate seat representing Johnson and Bartholomew counties, as Sen. Greg Walker, R-Columbus, will face Democrat Bryan Muñoz. In the Indiana House, Rep. Peggy Mayfield, R-Martinsville, is challenged by Democrat Kathy Thorpe in House District 60.

Indiana House incumbent Rep. Michelle Davis, R-Whiteland, is unchallenged. Robb Greene, who unseated incumbent Rep. John Young, R-Franklin, in May in House District 47 is also unopposed. Also running uncontested is Republican Craig Haggard, who won his party’s nomination for the new House District 57 in Johnson and Hendricks counties.

Several local school board seats around the county are contested this year — which McLaughlin said could bring more people out to vote.

Center Grove, Clark-Pleasant, Franklin and Greenwood school boards all have contested seats — with many current members challenged by new candidates. Edinburgh and Indian Creek school boards have uncontested races.

There are no local public questions or referendums on the ballot this year, however, compared to 2018, so that also might make the turnout lower, she said.

Voting by mail still prominent

The county clerk’s office has been receiving a steady stream of an average of 100 vote-by-mail applications per day, McLaughlin said. The office mailed out 1,240, as of Oct. 7. That already surpassed the around 900 mailed out during the primary this year, McLaughlin said.

A little over 3,000 Johnson County residents voted by mail during the last midterm election in 2018, and the county could meet that number again at the rate the clerk’s office is receiving the ballot applications.

The numbers are nowhere near the number of people who voted by mail during the last election in 2020. A record-breaking 14,000 residents received absentee ballots in the 2020 general election, which took place during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those numbers have since dwindled, but McLaughlin said there will always be people who want to, and can, vote by mail.

“You’re always going to have your voters who want to vote by mail, and you’re always going to have your voters that want to appear in person and vote on the machines,” she said.

Voters who meet certain qualifications can vote absentee by mail this year. Those include being out of Johnson County the entirety of Election Day polling hours, being confined to a hospital, residence or health care facility due to injury or illness during Election Day, caring for an individual who is injured or ill during polling hours, being at least 65 years old, having a disability, among other possible reasons, according to Indiana’s mail-in ballot application.

Absentee by mail applications must be delivered or mailed to the Johnson County courthouse by Oct. 27. Complete ballots must be returned, either by mail or in-person, to the courthouse by 6 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 8.

Paper trails only for early voting

The Indiana Legislature passed a law this year moving up the deadline to 2024 for all counties to equip electronic voting machines with an attachable paper trail, known as a voter-verifiable paper audit trail, or VVPAT.

While Johnson County has VVPATs to equip to its electronic machines, the paper trails will only be used at the select early voting locations this year. The county is not required to use all of them until 2024, anyway.

McLaughlin said she wants more time to train poll workers how to set up the machines and get familiar with them. The VVPATS will also be getting new cases, as they are currently in separate cases than the electronic voting machines. The cases will put everything together.

“It’s a lot of lifting and pulling and tugging for our poll workers,” McLaughlin said. “Once we get these new cases, the machine, and the VVPAT will be all in one. And it will be a lot easier for our poll workers to be able to get those set up.”

McLaughlin plans for the county to have the paper trails equipped on the machines for the 2023 municipal elections.


WHERE TO VOTE EARLY

Johnson County Courthouse, 5 East Jefferson St., Franklin

Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Wednesday until Nov. 4.

Saturday, Oct. 29 and Nov. 5, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Monday, Nov. 7, 8:30 a.m. to noon.

White River Public Library, 1664 Library Blvd., Greenwood

Saturday, Oct. 29 and Nov. 5, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Monday-Friday, Oct. 31 to Nov. 4, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Greenwood Public Library, east door, 310 S. Meridian St,, Greenwood

Saturday, Oct. 29 and Nov. 5, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Monday-Friday, Oct. 31 to Nov. 4, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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

Saturday, Oct. 29 and Nov. 5, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Monday-Friday, Oct. 31 to Nov. 4, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

John R. Drybread Community Center, 100 E. Main Cross St., Edinburgh

Saturday, Oct. 29 and Nov. 5, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Monday-Friday, Oct. 31 to Nov. 4, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.


Voting Quick Facts

  • Voters must register, or update their information, if needed, by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.
  • Visit indianavoters.in.gov or complete an application at the Johnson County courthouse, located at 5 E. Jefferson St., Franklin, before the courthouse closes at 4:30 p.m.
  • Mail-in voters can pick up an application at the courthouse or by following instructions found at indianavoters.in.gov.
  • Mail-in voting applications must be received by the courthouse on Oct. 27 or earlier.
  • Mail should be addressed to Johnson County Voter Registration, P.O. Box 451, Franklin, IN, 46131.

Source: Johnson County Voter Registration