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: 1343875

Reported Deaths: 24410
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook5380959996
DuPage893431270
Will74435981
Lake66368977
Kane57580768
Winnebago32526469
Madison30250518
McHenry28156284
St. Clair27650510
Peoria22686297
Champaign20373144
Sangamon18437233
McLean17818175
Tazewell16675277
Rock Island14720306
Kankakee13954207
Kendall1282791
LaSalle12286239
Macon10575194
DeKalb9728119
Vermilion9366131
Adams8345120
Williamson7340128
Whiteside7100166
Boone661671
Ogle601480
Grundy579771
Clinton574190
Coles564494
Knox5484139
Jackson495663
Henry487963
Livingston475184
Effingham470672
Stephenson466881
Macoupin466081
Woodford465474
Marion4447115
Franklin439872
Monroe434791
Jefferson4232119
Randolph411984
Lee410552
Morgan384180
Fulton382251
Logan381657
Montgomery368773
Bureau365882
Christian362073
Fayette315855
Perry314159
Iroquois296465
McDonough276345
Jersey268349
Douglas257435
Saline255153
Lawrence239925
Shelby227737
Union224240
Crawford210826
Bond201924
Cass197524
Jo Daviess179824
Pike178451
Clark178032
Warren177846
Wayne175852
Ford175446
Hancock174231
Richland173640
Carroll173536
White168726
Edgar168339
Washington163525
Moultrie159726
Clay148243
Mason147944
Piatt145814
De Witt145424
Mercer143833
Greene143233
Johnson141214
Wabash134212
Massac132940
Cumberland128819
Menard121512
Jasper114818
Marshall103218
Hamilton82915
Schuyler7305
Brown6996
Pulaski6837
Stark63023
Edwards56712
Henderson52214
Calhoun5152
Scott4761
Putnam4733
Alexander46511
Gallatin4574
Hardin38312
Pope3144
Out of IL70
Unassigned02344

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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

Cases: 724214

Reported Deaths: 13363
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion989071736
Lake53172962
Allen40223675
Hamilton35354408
St. Joseph35270550
Elkhart28228437
Tippecanoe22297217
Vanderburgh22231396
Porter18560304
Johnson17832376
Hendricks17098313
Clark12897191
Madison12519339
Vigo12379244
Monroe11811168
LaPorte11691210
Delaware10571185
Howard9823215
Kosciusko9347117
Hancock8204139
Bartholomew8036155
Warrick7754155
Floyd7630176
Wayne7002198
Grant6986174
Boone6652101
Morgan6529139
Dubois6139117
Marshall5954111
Dearborn577177
Cass5769105
Henry5671102
Noble555783
Jackson499672
Shelby488196
Lawrence4470120
Gibson433791
Harrison432972
Clinton426353
DeKalb423284
Montgomery423088
Whitley392739
Huntington386380
Steuben381057
Miami379165
Knox370990
Jasper361347
Putnam357760
Wabash352478
Adams340354
Ripley338370
Jefferson328481
White312254
Daviess294399
Wells290281
Decatur282992
Fayette278362
Greene276085
Posey270733
Scott264453
LaGrange263870
Clay258945
Randolph239581
Washington239131
Spencer230431
Jennings228848
Starke213252
Fountain211846
Sullivan210442
Owen195856
Fulton194240
Jay190429
Carroll187820
Perry182537
Orange181854
Rush172625
Vermillion167643
Franklin167235
Tipton161945
Parke145416
Blackford134332
Pike132634
Pulaski115945
Newton106734
Brown101441
Crawford99014
Benton98114
Martin87415
Warren80515
Switzerland7808
Union70610
Ohio56211
Unassigned0413