Early voters sometimes waiting 2 hours in Hamilton County

(WISH Photo)

HAMILTON COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — Inside the Hamilton County Judicial Center in Noblesville, the people casting their digital ballots should have considered themselves lucky.

“On a Friday afternoon right before closing time it wasn’t too bad at all,” said Matt Norris. He was talking about the line which barely existed when he showed up to vote early with his family. What he didn’t realize is truly how many people voted before he arrived.

“We have already approached record numbers,” said Kathy Richardson, Hamilton County Elections administrator. She said the Judicial Center has seen about 800 to 900 voters per day. She added that the satellite locations at the Carmel Clay Public Library and Fishers City Hall have been seeing about 500 people a day.

But smaller numbers don’t mean shorter lines. Richardson said the wait times at the two satellite locations average around two hours.

“We had people in line two hours before [the library] even opened,” Richardson said.

“With two weeks left before election day, we probably would have come back to see if the lines were a little bit shorter,” Norris said if he had seen similar lines.

There are a few reasons for the long hold up. The satellite locations only have six voting machines each compared to the 16 at the Judicial Center. Plus, there’s clearly high interest in participating in this year’s election.

“I’m anticipating we’ll be somewhere between 65 to 75 percent [voter] turnout, which is comparable to our last two presidential years,” Richardson said.

Even after closing time, workers were busy preparing another stack of absentee ballot information. They’re handing out several hundred a day.

“I know there’s a lot of interest and I’m glad to see the voting public getting out and doing their duty,” Norris said. His daughter, Elizabeth, and son, Jacob, joined him in the voting booth. Norris felt it was important for them to witness what it’s like to exercise an important right. Afterwards, we asked his children if they plan to vote early when they grow up. “I think I’ll up show maybe little early just because it’s a shorter line,” Elizabeth said.

“I think it just kind of depends on the year,” Jacob said. “But this year I think going out earlier may be the smarter option.”

The satellite locations and Judicial Center in Hamilton County are open at different times and have different schedules for early voting. To see when early voting will happen at each place, click here.