Clerk’s office making changes in anticipation of thousands of early voters

(WISH photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Early voting in Marion County might be more stressful than in years past.

Russell Hollis, Deputy Director of the Marion County Clerk’s Office, is anticipating up to 70,000 people will vote early. He said it’s comparable to the numbers they experienced in 2008. However this time around, there won’t be any satellite locations where people can cast an early ballot in person. The only place they can do that will be at the county clerk’s office.

Hollis said a law passed in 2011 made it so county election board members must vote unanimously to approve satellite locations, but the vote didn’t pass for this election.

Because of that, Hollis said his office is making necessary changes to ease the challenges that lie ahead.

Amidst the hustle and bustle and with time ticking away, Tychaunda Reeves and other people eager to exercise their right hurried into the Marion County Board of Voter Registration office just ahead of the 4:30 registration deadline. “Last minute, I’m rushing,” she said. Reeves needed to change her address since she just moved in Indianapolis. Others quickly filled out the registration paperwork.

Across the hallway at the county clerk’s office it was much quieter but that won’t last much longer.

“There will be a constant flow of people,” Hollis said. He added that the clerk’s office hired extra staff to accommodate the tens of thousands of early voters.

Velvet ropes already lined the hallway outside the office where people will wait 10 minutes at the most, according to Hollis.

He said having early voting in only one place doesn’t make things easier on his staff or on voters. But to ease some of the stress, the office is extending its hours.

That means the office will be open every weekend prior to Election Day from 10:00am to 5:00pm. Monday through Friday hours will be the normal time of 8:00am – 5:00pm. From Oct. 31 to Nov. 6, the office will be open from 8:00am to 8:00pm.

There are other challenges to overcome with early voting like finding a parking spot downtown.

To fix that, a lot that’s normally designated only for county workers will be open to the public through November 7.

It’s located at 355 East Pearl Street next to the intersection of Pearl Street and New Jersey Street.

A special entrance to the City County Building along Delaware Street will also be opened just for early voters.

If the idea of finding a parking spot or waiting in a line is too stressful, Hollis suggested people try absentee voting.

“Vote your ballot while you’re in the comfort of your home watching your favorite television show, mail your ballot to the election board and your vote will be counted on election day,” he said.

To do absentee voting, voters must first fill out a form online or fill out a form at the clerk’s office.

The ballot will then be mailed to the voter with an envelope for voters to mail it back.

To fill out the form for an absentee ballot, click here!

To find your polling place in Marion County, click here!