Indiana holds delayed primary with widespread mail balloting

Indiana’s first election to feature widespread mail-in balloting concludes Tuesday with an in-person primary that was delayed for four weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Posted: Jun 2, 2020 1:42 PM
Updated: Jun 2, 2020 3:36 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s first election to feature widespread mail-in balloting concludes Tuesday with an in-person primary that was delayed for four weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Nearly 550,000 voters requested mail-in ballots — more than 10 times the number cast during the 2016 primary — after coronavirus concerns prompted officials to delay the primary originally slated for May 5.

VOTING ISSUES

Many counties have drastically slashed the number of polling sites that will be open Tuesday, prompting worries about confusion and long voter lines. Indianapolis will have 22 voting locations rather than its normal 270. St. Joseph County will have 12 sites open in and around South Bend; it had planned to have 120 before the pandemic struck.

Some county election administrators and candidates have said they are worried that thousands of mail-in ballots could go uncounted if they arrive at election offices after the noon Tuesday deadline. The huge increase in mail-in ballots also has election officials warning it could take more than one day to tally them all, possibly delaying determination of some primary winners.

Lake County Democratic Party chairman James Wieser said his county received more than 25,000 absentee ballots and that officials began counting them at 8 a.m. Tuesday. He was unsure when the count would be completed.

“I don’t expect we’ll be able to get through all of these today … I’m not ruling it out, but it doesn’t seem likely,” Wieser said Tuesday morning.

He said Lake County polling sites had seen only minor problems Tuesday, with two voting sites experiencing voting machine glitches that caused those sites to open less than an hour late.

As of noon, the only reported problem was long lines at some Marion County polling sites, Indiana Secretary of State’s office spokesman Ian Hauer said.

“We have half the day left but it’s been pretty typical, which is kind of surprising considering the atypical election that it’s been,” Hauer said.

Hauer said he fielded one call Tuesday from a citizen asking whether voters need to wear a face mask inside polling sites. While the secretary of state’s office is asking voters to wear face masks, he said the office isn’t requiring them to do so.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

In 2016, the Republican and Democratic presidential races weren’t settled ahead of Indiana’s primary. That drama — and voter draw — is missing this year.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is the last active candidate in the Democratic primary, although he hasn’t yet won enough delegates to secure the bid. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is among nine candidates who are also listed on the party ballot.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb and Democratic business executive Woody Myers are unopposed for their party’s gubernatorial nominations for the November election.

5TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

The 15-candidate scrum for the Republican nomination to replace GOP Rep. Susan Brooks largely turned into a contest of Trump loyalty. The district has been a Republican bastion for decades, but Democrats are targeting it for the fall election as its suburban Indianapolis areas have become less solidly GOP.

Victoria Spartz has flooded TV screens and mailboxes with ads fueled largely by $900,000 she loaned to her campaign. That enabled Spartz to build name recognition as a first-time candidate after two years in the state Senate where she was picked by party activists to complete a retired senator’s term.

Spartz has also benefited from more than $400,000 in campaign spending by the Washington-based anti-tax Club for Growth, which paid for TV ads highlighting past criticisms of Trump by fellow candidates Carl Brizzi, a former Marion County prosecutor, and business owner Beth Henderson.

State Treasurer Kelly Mitchell, pediatric physician Chuck Dietzen and evangelical pastor Micah Beckwith are among the other candidates looking to emerge from the crowded GOP field.

Indiana Democrats, meanwhile, have largely backed former state Rep. Christina Hale, who was the 2016 Democratic lieutenant governor nominee, and she has already raised more than $1 million. Hale is being challenged by Dee Thornton, the party’s 2018 candidate for the seat, who has been endorsed by the Congressional Black Caucus PAC.

1st CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

Rep. Pete Visclosky’s retirement after 36 years in Congress prompted several prominent Democrats to square off for the chance to replace him in the party’s northwestern Indiana stronghold.

Five-term Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott likely started with an advantage from his high-profile position, but Visclosky endorsed Frank Mrvan, a Lake County township trustee whose father is a longtime state senator.

Lake County makes up about two-thirds of the district’s ballots, and those will likely also be split among state Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon of Munster, Gary attorney Sabrina Haake and Melissa Borom of Gary, a former Visclosky aide who has been endorsed by several members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Valparaiso attorney Jim Harper, who was the 2018 Democratic candidate for secretary of state, is the best-known candidate from outside Lake County.

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Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1407929

Reported Deaths: 25834
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook56116810553
DuPage933531321
Will777131042
Lake689761025
Kane59918816
Winnebago34589523
Madison32075533
St. Clair29670526
McHenry29452299
Peoria23620346
Champaign21446158
Sangamon19474245
McLean18765194
Tazewell17406308
Rock Island15345329
Kankakee14715224
Kendall13432100
LaSalle12904253
Macon11121214
DeKalb10235122
Vermilion10162154
Adams9386128
Williamson7963138
Whiteside7241174
Boone691180
Ogle627584
Grundy603379
Clinton585893
Coles5838101
Knox5712157
Jackson537465
Henry512970
Macoupin493389
Livingston493192
Woodford490783
Stephenson487286
Effingham480474
Franklin478178
Marion4686117
Jefferson4613123
Monroe447894
Randolph427687
Lee422554
Morgan410092
Fulton409659
Logan404665
Christian392575
Bureau384187
Montgomery383074
Iroquois326668
Perry326661
Fayette325256
McDonough302651
Jersey276652
Saline267557
Douglas262736
Union244141
Lawrence243627
Shelby234938
Crawford216826
Bond211524
Cass209527
Carroll204337
Pike197153
Ford192050
Hancock190832
Clark189034
Warren186250
Wayne185953
Jo Daviess183324
Richland179640
Edgar178942
White176426
Washington167625
Moultrie166328
Mason162647
De Witt160629
Piatt154914
Clay152943
Johnson152516
Greene151434
Mercer151334
Wabash145212
Massac140440
Cumberland130919
Menard126912
Jasper116818
Marshall109519
Hamilton87816
Schuyler8067
Brown8006
Pulaski7337
Stark65625
Edwards62012
Calhoun5352
Henderson53414
Scott5011
Putnam4933
Alexander48511
Gallatin4774
Hardin39412
Pope3384
Unassigned582432
Out of IL30

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 764448

Reported Deaths: 13965
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1049701803
Lake567981029
Allen42685698
St. Joseph37253568
Hamilton37131426
Elkhart29699470
Tippecanoe23347230
Vanderburgh23106404
Porter19538327
Johnson18755391
Hendricks18012321
Madison13463345
Clark13450198
Vigo12789255
LaPorte12533224
Monroe12494178
Delaware11100198
Howard10612237
Kosciusko9736123
Hancock8707149
Bartholomew8235157
Warrick8031157
Floyd7975181
Grant7337181
Wayne7222201
Boone7145105
Morgan6886142
Marshall6323116
Dubois6267118
Cass6083111
Dearborn598578
Noble595790
Henry5939111
Jackson514677
Shelby509097
Lawrence4901127
Gibson460696
Montgomery454492
Clinton453555
DeKalb451585
Harrison450576
Whitley414745
Huntington411781
Steuben409560
Miami404073
Jasper399455
Knox387091
Putnam383762
Wabash367383
Adams351656
Ripley350471
Jefferson340486
White338954
Daviess3084100
Wells302281
Greene292285
Decatur291493
Fayette285864
Posey280435
Scott278058
LaGrange276972
Clay273048
Washington252437
Randolph247083
Jennings238149
Spencer237531
Fountain233750
Starke229859
Owen221059
Sullivan219043
Fulton207645
Jay202832
Carroll196522
Orange190556
Perry189139
Vermillion179644
Rush177027
Franklin171635
Tipton171547
Parke153616
Pike141234
Blackford137832
Pulaski122948
Newton122436
Benton109215
Brown105743
Crawford105116
Martin92515
Warren87615
Switzerland8308
Union73510
Ohio58211
Unassigned0428