Poll workers Jackie Jones, left, and Brad Skeel check in voter Ross Shilts, the first person in line, Monday during the initial day of early voting at the Johnson County courthouse. Early voting for the May primary continues at the courthouse, and other locations depending on the day, up to Election Day on May 2.


On a cold, rainy, blustery morning, voting kicked off in Johnson County Monday.

A handful of people had made their way to the basement of the county courthouse, where machines had been set up for the first day of early voting.

The turnout was tepid, likely a combination of it being a municipal election with limited contested races, as well as the nasty weather.

But for those who cast their ballots on Monday, it was a priority to exercise their right to vote.

“The kind of democracy we have, a constitutional democracy, really is one of the hardest forms of government to maintain,” said Ross Shilts, the first voter of the early voting period and at-large candidate for Franklin City Council. “If we don’t put in the work to maintain it by coming out to vote, if we don’t get engaged in the civic-sphere, it begins to decay. It can’t do it’s job if people don’t come out and vote.”

Early voting will continue throughout April and early May, leading up to the primary election on May 2. The county’s election office is ready, regardless of what the turnout ends up being, said Trena McLaughlin, county clerk.

“We thought there would be a few more people here, just because it’s the first day. But we’re happy we’ve had who has come out so far,” she said. “The early voting period is only two weeks this time, so hopefully we get some more voters out.”

In preparation for Monday morning, two bipartisan teams set up the voting machines and tested them. None of the machines experienced any problems, nor did the VVPAT, or voter-verified paper audit trail, system being used for the election, McLaughlin said.

The system prints off a receipt that shows how a person voted onto the voting machine. State law requires all counties to use a paper trail by next year, so Johnson County will be using the VVPAT for both early voting and on Election Day this year.

“We wanted to be prepared, so we thought we’d start out with a municipal election, get all of our poll workers acclimated to those,” McLaughlin said.

She is unsure what to expect from this year’s early voting. Early voting turnout during the last municipal primary in 2019 was about 2,700 people.

Only Johnson County residents who live within municipal boundaries can vote this year, as there are no federal, state or county seats on ballots. Candidates are running for office in Franklin, Greenwood, Bargersville, Edinburgh, Whiteland, New Whiteland, Trafalgar and Prince’s Lakes for positions including mayor, city and town council, clerk-treasurer, city judge and city clerk.

“We do have some contested races. I think Greenwood will bring out voters, and we have some contested council races in Prince’s Lakes and Trafalgar. So I think we’ll see a little bit. But typically municipal elections are low turnout, unfortunately,” McLaughlin said.

Within the first half hour of voting on Monday, six people had come out to cast their ballots, including a pair of candidates for local offices.

Shilts was first in line, as one of four at-large candidates for Franklin City Council wanted to make sure his vote was counted as he focuses on the final weeks of his campaign. Shilts, Clayton Black, Todd Shuck, and incumbent Shawn Taylor, are running for the Republican nomination for two at-large seats on Franklin City Council.

“It’s been good so far. I’ve been putting in the work and hoping it pays off,” he said.

Behind him in line was Dale Marmaduke, who is one of the two Republican candidates seeking the nomination for Greenwood City Council District 5. He is challenging incumbent David Hopper.

As he waited for his turn, he spoke about some of the issues facing the city, including some of the developments approved by the city and his concern about so many campaign contributions coming from outside Greenwood.

For the next two weeks, the Johnson County Courthouse will be open for voting during the week, with four other vote centers scattered throughout the county open the two weekends and the week leading up to Election Day. For that week, the satellite centers will close at 6 p.m., an hour earlier than last year.

Three retirement community satellite vote centers, located at Greenwood Village South, Otterbein SeniorLife and Compass Park, will be open for four hours on two separate days.

Fifteen vote centers will be open on May 2 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

A total of 81,033 Johnson County residents are living in municipalities now registered to vote and eligible to vote in the primary election, according to the Johnson County Clerk’s Office.

Local officials are confident those people will find the right time to cast their vote.

“We hope people exercise their right to vote. If they don’t get out, it’s really hard to complain, because they didn’t exercise that right,” McLaughlin said.



Johnson County Courthouse, 5 East Jefferson St., Franklin

  • Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. until April 28
  • This Saturday and April 29, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Monday, May 1, 8:30 a.m. to noon.

White River Public Library, 1664 Library Blvd., Greenwood

  • This Saturday and April 29, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • April 26-April 28, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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

  • This Saturday and April 29, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • April 26-April 28, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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

  • This Saturday and April 29, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • April 26-April 28, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m

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

  • This Saturday and April 29, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • April 26-April 28, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.