It’s Election Day on Tuesday and if you’re heading out to vote, you should probably check to make sure your polling place is actually open today.
In a month-delayed primary election amid an ongoing coronavirus pandemic, this year is anything but typical at the polls.
Voters in Noble and LaGrange counties will have eight local contests to decide, with most of those showing up on Republican tickets as usual.
Polls will open at 6 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. While vote tallies may be slightly delayed due to the large number of mail-in ballots, county clerks expect to have results compiled on Tuesday night.
While thousands have already opted to vote by mail this primary, Noble County voters heading out to polling sites may find that their usual voting location is closed or moved. The number of vote centers has been reduced from its normal eight to just four and where the most popular polling place is not running this cycle.
Due to coronavirus and with a mind for the health and safety of pollworkers, Noble County Clerk Shelley Mawhorter — who would have preferred an all mail-in primary this spring — cut down to fewer vote centers in order to reduce the number of pollworkers needed on Election Day.
With several times more people voting by mail, with the presidential nominees set and with it being a primary election, turnout at the polls is likely to be low anyway.
The biggest change this year is that Bridgeway Church, perennially the county’s most-used polling place, is not available. Instead, voters in Kendallville will be voting at the nearby Impact Institute, 558 Fairview Blvd., instead.
Bridgeway had a conflict with the June 2 election date, as did Kendallville’s other polling site at CrossPointe Church off Drake Road, so a new site had to be picked, Noble County Clerk Shelley Mawhorter said.
Four other sites typically in use for voting — CrossPointe Church in Kendallville, Noble County Public Library Avilla branch, Orange Township Fire Department in Rome City and Merriam Christian Chapel in Merriam — are also closed for this primary.
Mawhorter said signs will be posted at all of the normal locations that are not in use to direct people to other sites that are open.
The vote centers that remain should all be familiar to voters, as they’ve been used in every recent election — Blessed Sacrament Church in Albion, Stone’s Hill Community Church in Ligonier and LaOtto Cultivate Church (LaOtto Wesleyan) in LaOtto.
Noble County utilizes vote centers, meaning voters can cast their ballots at any of the available sites. With four polling places closed, that may mean a little longer drive than usual, but voters don’t have to go to a specific site.
In LaGrange County, which uses precinct voting, voters do have to go to an assigned polling place, but LaGrange County has not changed or reduced any locations since the last countywide election in fall 2018.
The county will still utilize eight polling places including the LaGrange County Fairgrounds, LaGrange County Public Library Topeka branch, Wolfe Community Building and five area churches.
As for contests on the primary ballot, their are eight local contests, with most showing up on the Republican ticket.
All voters will be voting for their presidential nominee, which is technically contested on both tickets although both races have only one active candidate still in, President Donald Trump on the GOP ticket and former Vice President Joe Biden on the Democratic side.
Locally, all voters in both counties will be voting for their Congressional representative, as races for the 3rd District U.S. Representative seat are contested.
On the Republican ticket, incumbent Rep. Jim Banks of Columbia City is challenged by Dr. Chris Magiera of Warsaw. On the Democratic ticket, it’s a four-way race between Chip Coldiron, Jean-Paul (JP) Kalonji, Carlos Marcano Jr. and Tommy Schrader.
All of the other contests on ballots in either county are on the Republican ticket only.
Republicans in both counties will have to pick a candidate for the Indiana State Senate District 13 race. Incumbent Sen. Sue Glick is being challenged by former LaGrange County Prosecutor Jeff Wible for the seat that represents all of Noble, LaGrange and Steuben counties and the western part of DeKalb County.
Noble County has only two other races.
For Noble County Clerk, deputy clerk Tammy Bremer is running along with former Noble County courts bailiff Jennifer Cummins.
The other race is a three-way race for the open Noble County Coroner job. Tamara Coney, John W. Snyder, Lisa S. Strebig.
The ballot also contains Lance Waters, however Waters has withdrawn from the race after being recently named Kendallville Chief of Police. Due to the timing, his name could not be pulled from the ballot, but Waters has advised voters to cast their ballots for one of the other three candidates.
LaGrange County has three races, all Republicans, for legislative positions on the board of county commissioner and LaGrange County Council.
For the District 2 commissioner seat, incumbent Dennis Kratz is being challenged by Raymond E. Hoover and Kevin R. Myers. For the District 3 commissioner seat, incumbent Larry Miller is facing a contest from Arden L. Hoffman.
Voters will pick their top three candidates out of four choices for the LAGrange County Council at-large seats. The race includes the three council incumbents Jeff Brill, Steven McKowen and Michael Strawser along with challenger Kimberly McKibbin.
For stories with results from the primary, check online Tuesday evening at kpcnews.com/election.