The following are short interviews with voters, election officials, candidates and others Daily Journal reporters speak with at Johnson County vote centers today.
Check back throughout the day for more. We will be out and about 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Check in tonight to see election results online as ballots are counted.
To share your experience at the polls email [email protected] or call 317-736-2774.
5:30 p.m., Clark Pleasant Library, Whiteland
“Vote for my mom!”
The voice rang out across the Clark Pleasant Library parking lot, directed at each voter who passed by Kaelynn Crawford.
She had come out to the library for some last-minute stumping for her mother, Kimberly Crawford, who was running for the Pleasant Township seat on the Clark-Pleasant School Board. Crawford had been named to the board in 2021, and was campaigning for the first time.
The campaign was a family affair for Crawford, who was also standing out front of the library with her daughter and her husband, John.
“We came out just to remind them that I’m running for school board, get my name out there and meet more people, encourage them to come out and vote,” she said.
Holding up a blue-and-orange sign, Kaelynn tried to draw as much attention to her mother as possible.
“It’s been fun. I keep telling everyone they should vote for my mom, she’s an amazing person,” she said.
— Ryan Trares
3:45 p.m., White River Library, Greenwood
The voting process wasn’t quite what Cora Craig had expected.
The 18-year-old Greenwood resident was taking part in her first election. Heading into it, she expected a formal, almost sacred atmosphere at the polling place.
She was pleased with how comfortable it felt.
“It was weird. I had this picture from TV shows, but it was completely different than I thought it would be. It wasn’t stressful or complicated. I just figured it would be more secret, almost like how you do confession at some churches,” she said.
With this being her first opportunity to vote, Craig was always going to be sure to cast her ballot this November. But this particular election felt particularly important.
“I feel like the only way to better our future is to make sure everybody votes. If you don’t vote, it can go south by having everything stay the same because I definitely feel like change is needed,” she said.
Craig was keenly interested in candidates who were pro-life vs. pro-choice, wanting to cast her votes that supported a woman’s ability to make decisions about her own body.
“Women should have a right to choose what they do with their own bodies, just as a man can,” she said.
– Ryan Trares
3:30 p.m., White River Library, Greenwood
For about 30 seconds, the voting machine froze.
But just as suddenly as it went out, the machine was back online in the voting center at the White River library. The single blip marked the only issue that poll workers faced throughout a busy Election Day.
“Otherwise, we’ve been incident free,” said poll inspector Heather Overton. “I haven’t heard anyone complain about the line. It’s a beautiful day, so people are just chatting and visiting with the neighbors.”
Such a smooth operation was necessary, as voters had packed into the library from the moment polls opened Tuesday morning. When doors opened at 6 a.m., about 75 people were already waiting, and the line persisted throughout the day.
By 3:30 p.m., nearly 2,000 people had voted, Overton said.
“It’s been very busy. We’ve had a line down the sidewalk and around the building since this morning,” she said. “But the longest I’ve heard anyone say they’ve waited was 20 minutes.”
The chatter among voters has been focused on the race for Center Grove school board, Overton said.
“There’s a lot of interest,” she said. “A lot of people who normally vote straight ticket have been asking, even if they do that, can they still vote for the school board. That’s been a huge point of interest, making sure they have that.”
– Ryan Trares
3:15 p.m., Cultural Arts and Recreation Center, Franklin
Franklin College student Matthew Earley cast his first-ever vote Tuesday, and he came to the polls prepared.
“The main issue for me is the oil shortage right now. We only have 23 days left of diesel reserves,” Earley said. “I figured it would be good to vote for people who will pass legislation to fix our economy and fix that for the future. I gave a speech about that in my public speech class and talked about why people should vote and what would give us a positive outlook on our economy.”
While Earley declined to publicly share his support for any particular candidate, he said he was most focused on the U.S. Senate race between Republican incumbent Sen. Todd Young and Democratic challenger Tom McDermott, along with the Indiana District 6 race between Republican incumbent Rep. Greg Pence and Democratic challenger Cinde Wirth.
“I feel like if you have someone who will proudly represent the county’s votes and what they think is most important for their region and the country as a whole, that’s the best way to get your voice heard,” Earley said.
Tori Ratti, a teacher at Clark-Pleasant Community School Corporation, lives in a sliver of Franklin within Clark-Pleasant’s boundaries.
A second-time voter, Ratti said she was in support of challengers Beatrice Dunn and Linda Polesel, along with incumbent Craig Koch.
“I’m a teacher, so being geared toward the education of students is one of the big reasons I came to vote today,” she said. “They’re really strong candidates who have really good ideas of what their school board should be like.”
When it comes to picking a candidate, honesty is the best quality, Ratti said.
“Someone who has a lot of honesty goes a long way,” she said. “It’s important you listen to what everyone has to say and do your part.”
3:00 p.m. Cultural Arts and Recreation Center, Franklin
Franklin school board candidate Becky Nelson had been standing outside the vote center and putting up signs since 6 a.m. Tuesday. Her son, Cash Nelson, joined her at 10:30 a.m.
Nelson, who has served four years on the Franklin Community School Corporation Board of
Trustees, is running against challenger Matt Cree. Nelson said she’s most proud of the property tax referendum voters passed in 2019. The referendum ensured higher teacher salaries and an increase in mental health services in the school district.
“The last four years have been unreal, we’ve been through COVID and redistricting. We’re growing,” Nelson said. “I’m excited about that, and getting new students in Franklin will be great for the school corporation.”
Cash Nelson said he’s seen some of the dedication his mother, who also serves as the school nurse for Northwood Elementary School, has to Franklin schools.
“I think she’s done a great job and she puts in the work,” Nelson said. “The late nights she’s at meetings and on her laptop, doing all kinds of work.”
While people have asked her about her political affiliation, the school board is non-partisan, Becky Nelson said.
“I’ve had people ask if I’m Republican or Democrat and I say ‘school board is non-partisan’ and they don’t like that answer. I don’t vote on anything (on the school board) because I’m a Republican or Democrat, I just don’t think that plays a part in school policy,” she said.
Becky Nelson said her experience in Franklin schools has gained her the trust of teachers.
“I’m able to be there and see what happens and what kind of things we’re facing as students and staff and really understand what they’re going through,” she said. “Teachers have gone up to me and say ‘I’m glad you’re here’ and I see what they’re going through every day. It makes it seem like they have a voice.”
1:00 p.m., Greenwood Public Library, Greenwood
By the time 1 p.m. rolled around, more than 1,100 people had cast their ballots at the Greenwood library, election inspector Chris Sifers said.
Most tallies for entire days during early voting didn’t budge much above 400, he said.
“It’s pretty amazing to have this many people involved. Presidential elections are pretty heavy but midterms are hit or miss,” Sifers said. “Voting kind of controls everything, people will make decisions that will affect your everyday life.”
Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers cast his ballot at about 12:45 p.m., and shared his support for fellow Republicans Todd Young, running for reelection in the U.S. Senate, and Greg Pence, running for reelection in Indiana’s District 6 for the U.S. House of Representatives.
“I always want to come out and vote,” Myers said. “It’s our right as citizens of the United States to vote for who we think is the right person for office. This year is very contested with a lot of different races and I think every vote counts. I hope everybody comes out and votes.”
Dorothy Woods, a 69-year-old Greenwood resident, has voted in every election since she turned 18 except for one.
“I missed one election, my father was really sick and he passed right after the election when Obama won the first time, but I got him a ballot and said ‘that’s my ballot, too.’ That’s our chance to be heard. Sometimes I think it doesn’t matter but I vote anyway,” Woods said.
The economy and the state of the democracy were the most important issues for Woods, who also shared her views on the issue of abortion after Roe v Wade was overturned earlier this year.
“I’m against abortion but I don’t think it’s my place to tell people what to do with their bodies,” Woods said.
Woods also shared her support for U.S. Senate candidate Tom McDermott, who she said had the best chance to help stabilize the economy.
12:45 p.m. Bargersville Town Hall, Bargersville
The Center Grove school board race was one of the most important local races for Kevin Killinger as he voted in Bargersville Tuesday afternoon.
“I think it’s important whether you’re in Center Grove, or Franklin’s school district, I think everyone should get out and support their school,” Killinger said.
Eight candidates are running for three available seats on the Center Grove School Board. Killinger said he took time to research candidates, and talked to friends about the different candidates they know.
He did not share who he voted for, but he said he gaged his vote based on who he thought had the most experience.
“I’m looking for experience and transparency, and that’s how I voted today,” he said.
– Emily Ketterer
12:30 p.m. Greenwood Public Library, Greenwood
A trio of candidates for Greenwood school board made their way out to the polling place before the break of dawn Tuesday, waiting to greet voters and answer any questions they may have.
The candidates, Brian Ford, Mike Metzger and Chad Shaffer are three of the four candidates running for two spots on the Greenwood Community School Corporation board of trustees, the other being Peggy Daeger. A fifth candidate, Jack Napier, is running unopposed for a District 2 spot.
Metzger, an incumbent who’s been on the school board for eight years, said he’s most proud of the advances in teacher pay the board voted for during his time.
“When I got on the board, we were dead last in starting teacher pay in Johnson County, and when (former Superintendent) Kent DeKoninck left we were No. 1,” Metzger said. “That was a black eye for the board eight years ago and was not an easy change to make.”
Brian Ford, an incumbent whose served one four-year term thus far, said he was proud of the teacher raises as well as the new hires the school district has made, including Superintendent Terry Terhune, who started his position in last year, and Greenwood Community High School Principal Michael Gasaway, who replaced Todd Garrison this summer.
Ford and Metzger said they’ve been asked by voters if they’ve been endorsed by Purple For Parents, a far-right group hoping to see social emotional learning, or SEL, removed from schools and to prevent Critical Race Theory, or CRT, from being taught. The two have not been endorsed by the group.
Shaffer has not been endorsed by the group but says he doesn’t want SEL or CRT to be part of the curriculum. He also wants more transparency from the board and has a goal to introduce the newest technology to the school district’s classrooms.
“I’d like to increase communication channels, hearing from the community and sharing information with the community,” Shaffer said.
Jessica Burnside, a Democrat running for Pleasant Township Advisory Board, joined the three candidates outside the vote center.
Burnside touted her experience as an accountant to voters and spent the morning informing voters about the duties of the trustee and the advisory board, Burnside said.
“I think a lot of people don’t know about township-level government. It’s a shame, throughout the whole state of Indiana, so much is spent on township-level government and no one knows what it’s for,” she said. “(I want to) bring oversight to the trustee level. We need a website so people know about the services the township provides. It’s about increasing accountability and services.”
12 p.m. Bargersville Town Hall, Bargersville
Women’s rights and abortion were on the minds of Blythe Potter and Ashley Auld as they voted on Election Day.
Potter said she supported candidates who don’t want to “take away equality or women’s rights,” after Indiana Republicans in the House and Senate earlier this year passed a law banning abortion—with exceptions of rape or incest—statewide.
Potter, though, also said she believes it is important for anyone to vote, even if they disagree with her.
“That’s kind of the good thing about controversies happening right now, it’s that people are mad enough to go vote, regardless of whether they agree with me or not … I think before people were like, ‘oh, it’s no big deal,’ but it is a big deal,” Potter said.
Gayle Allard and Nancy Kehl, current clerk-treasurer for the town of Bargersville, said they voted to support Republican candidates. Both Kehl and Allard voted for Sen. Todd Young in the U.S. Senate race, because they support his leadership, values and policies.
“I liked that he did the CHIPS bill, so that Americans can be protected and so they can build over here,” Kehl said.
10:50 a.m. Clark Pleasant Library, Whiteland
Clark-Pleasant School Board candidate Beatrice Dunn has been out and about all morning Tuesday.
Her stop at the Clark Pleasant Library just before 11 a.m. was the fourth so far. She said she’s had fun talking to voters outside and seeing former students of hers.
“It’s been really, really good. I’ve seen a lot of former students and people and I’ve gotten lots of encouragement,” Dunn said.
Dunn and other friends campaigning for her have been around the Clark-Pleasant area talking to voters, and answering questions about where Dunn stands on school issues.
“They will come up and ask you know, what do you think about something?” Dunn said. “A lot of people just come up and tell me they’re glad I’m running or how excited they are.”
She overall feels confident in her chances, she said.
“Well, it’s not a prediction but I feel really good because of having been now to three places and having people talk to me and tell me they’re voting for me and everything,” Dunn said.
– Emily Ketterer
10:30 a.m., Mount Pleasant Christian Church, Greenwood
Four-and-a-half hours in and the vote center at Mount Pleasant Christian Church in Greenwood has seen over 710 voters, said Marie Smith, election inspector.
Alex Braden, of Greenwood, did not come out to vote for any particular race, but rather because he believes it’s important to vote no matter what. Voting is important because its part of the democratic process, he said.
“We’re allowed to do it,” Braden said. I don’t want to go to jury duty if I didn’t vote.”
Meg Gray, also of Greenwood, came out to vote with her two young children. She wanted to show her children the importance of having a voice in their community.
“I wanted to show my kids — not only talk-the-talk but walk-the-walk — show them how our democracy works,” Gray said.
Like Braden, Gray believes voting for every election is important. Voters need to show their voices, no matter how big or small, she said.
“You have the opportunity to do something in your community to better your community. Let your voice be heard,” she said. “It’s painless. Just get out there and do it.”
– Noah Crenshaw
10 a.m., Clark Pleasant Library, Whiteland
For four hours, the line at the Clark Pleasant Library hasn’t slowed down.
By 10 a.m., it stretched nearly to the back of the library from the front conference room where the voting machines are set up.
The line looked intimidating to some, who walked in, sighed, and then walked out. Some people who walked in were persuaded by others waiting in line that it “moves fast.” Some read books or browsed while waiting.
There hasn’t been much of a break since the doors opened at 6 a.m., poll worker Damian Katt said. He said at least 30 people were already in line when the doors opened at 6 a.m.
Husband and wife David and Debbie Patrick, of Whiteland, said they wanted to vote because it is their right, and they weren’t deterred by the long line when they walked in to the library.
Debbie Patrick said one of the important races she wanted to vote for was Clark-Pleasant school board. Seven candidates are running for three available seats on the board.
“They need someone in there to help with the teachers and everything,” she said.
Adam and Brittani Woerz, of Franklin, also said school boards are important local races this year, because of the spotlight on them.
“Schools are on everybody’s mind, really,” Adam Woerz said.
– Emily Ketterer
9:30 a.m., Mount Pleasant Christian Church, Greenwood
Temperatures are rising, and it can’t come soon enough for the candidates campaigning outside Mount Pleasant Christian Church in Greenwood.
Less than a dozen candidates and their representatives have stood outside the church since before polls opened at 6 a.m. Suzanne Fortenberry, the Democratic candidate for White River Township Trustee, thought it was important to be outside the vote center so voters have a chance to ask her questions before casting a vote.
“I’m here because I want to give people the option to come up, talk to me and ask questions,” Fortenberry said. “… You get to see people versus just interaction online. Social media is great, but you don’t get the personal, ‘Hi. What do you need from me?’ experience.”
Her opponent, Republican incumbent Mark Messick, was also outside the church Tuesday, though he was a few feet to the right from her.
“If people are going to take the time to come out and vote for me, I should have the courtesy and thank them for their civic duty,” Messick said.
Jack Russell, an incumbent Center Grove School Board member running for reelection, was campaigning in order to get his message out to voters before they go to the polls. It’s important for people to vote because it’s their duty as a U.S. citizen, he said.
“It’s very important to come out and show your decision of where the country goes, or school board, not country, but it still speaks to it,” Russell said.
– Noah Crenshaw
8:35 a.m., White River Township Library, Greenwood
Poll workers were constantly busy at the White River branch of the Johnson County library in Greenwood.
Arriving voters were met with a nearly full parking lot and a constant line out the door. Inside though, the turn-around was quick.
For Greenwood resident Elaine Hatcher, the voting process was easy and she was in and out in a matter of minutes. She came out to vote because education, which is very important to her, was on the ballot.
“I wanted to make sure we had good people in place to help with education,” she said.
Coming out to vote is very important to Hatcher because it allows people to have a say in the country’s future. Being well-informed is also key to voting, she said.
“Being well-informed about what’s going on in politics allows you to make correct choices for what you think should happen in the government and around yourself,” Hatcher said.
– Noah Crenshaw
7:30 a.m., Greenwood Bible Baptist Church
For many poll workers, volunteering on Election Day is their patriotic duty. Vicki Jordal is no exception.
Jordal has been a poll worker for over 30 years. She is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, which has patriotism as a tenant, she said.
“I care about the values that we vote for today. It’s a three-prong approach,” Jordal said.
While she has worked most of the week, she was surprised by the line of voters waiting to cast votes Tuesday morning. There is a constant flow today, Jordal said.
“There hasn’t been a time where there’s nobody,” she said.
Election judge Tim Ritter is working the polls for the first time. He felt a need to continue public service after he retired from the U.S. Postal Service last December, so he became a poll worker.
“I just wanted to get involved and I have time now,” Ritter said.
To be an election judge, Ritter underwent about an hour of training, along with reading and studying materials. Despite being new to the role, he hasn’t been surprised by what he’s seen so far — mostly.
“I’ve voted for years. I’ve been through the process from that side,” he said. “I’m kind of surprised it’s moved as smoothly as it has.”
Jordal helped a voter cast their ballot for the first time. The woman became a citizen last year, and asked to have both a Democrat and Republican watch her cast her ballot to make sure she was doing it correctly on her own, Jordal said.
“She did it perfectly,” Jordal said. “Our voter machines are quite user-friendly, even for somebody where it’s their first time.”
– Noah Crenshaw
6:30 a.m., Greenwood Bible Baptist Church
A line of 25 people had already formed minutes before polls opened at Greenwood Bible Baptist Church.
Despite the chilly weather — temperatures are in the 40s — James “Kenny” Hood and his wife, Delores, both of Franklin, were among the first to cast their vote this morning.
The Hoods came out to vote because they feel there is a lot of chaos happening within the United States. They both believe children are getting manipulated and are being taught the wrong things.
“I’m just going to come out and save our country, freedom and everything that we could lose,” Kenny Hood said. “People died for our freedoms and I’m going to keep it up. I’m out here doing this because I feel like I’m doing something for my country.”
His wife Delores agreed. Both Delores and Kenny came out mainly because of the school board races. While their children are grown, they are concerned about the education of kids today.
“We see all this stuff that’s going on that’s wrong,” Kenny Hood said. “We want to put an end to it. The way we can do it is by voting.”
The Hoods also commented on the oddity of having a blood moon and a lunar eclipse the morning of the election.
“What is really great about (voting) is the blood moon is this morning,” Delores Hood said.
Kenny Hood replied, “Yeah what are the chances?”
– Noah Crenshaw