What will keep you away from the polls today? Turned off by the ads? You simply don’t care or don’t think it makes a difference?
Think again. It does make a difference, not only in determining the public service you’ll receive from those ultimately elected but also in the campaigns and candidates you’ll see in the years ahead. Staying away from the polls is a surefire way to encourage candidates and elected officials to cater to a few. Voting is the best way to let them know you pay attention and care.
As of noon Monday, 2,218 Allen County voters had already done just that. The early-voting turnout pleased Beth Dlug, the county’s director of elections.
It’s more than we expected, she said. It’s 1,000 more than we had for the primary election in 2010.
It even topped the early-voting numbers for the 2012 primary, which followed a colorful GOP presidential contest. A total of 2,109 voters cast early ballots two years ago.
Dlug said the election board is preparing for a 25 percent turnout of registered voters, to ensure there are enough voting machines and lines are avoided. She predicts turnout in the high teens, similar to the 17 percent turnout in May of 2010.
An open Indiana Senate seat lends some excitement to the GOP primary this year. Four candidates are battling to replace Sen. Tom Wyss, who has held the District 15 seat since 1985. Not all Allen County ballots will offer those choices, however. Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, represents all or parts of 12 northeastern townships in Allen County. He is unopposed.
In addition to the low-key Third District race for the U.S. House, Allen County ballots include contests for nine Indiana House races and countywide races for commissioner, prosecutor, assessor, sheriff and four County Council districts. Township trustees and board members are on the ballot, including hotly contested races in St. Joseph Township, where fire protection is the smoldering issue.
Democrats have a handful of candidates, but in a Republican-dominated county, today’s GOP primary is essentially the final word on some contests.
Dlug reminds voters to check their voting location, as half of the county’s registered voters are assigned to new polling sites. Don’t forget a photo ID, as well.
But most important: Vote – it makes a difference.