On May 8, Indiana voters will cast primary ballots for United States Senate; Congress; state legislature; county offices such as the Sheriff, Assessor, Recorder, Auditor, Prosecuting Attorney and the Circuit Court Clerk; and for township officials. School board races also will be decided in that election (Fort Wayne Community Schools will fill three school board seats, and Southwest Allen County will fill two seats), and the political parties will choose precinct leaders and state convention delegates.
Primaries are the elections when voters choose which candidate they want to run on their party’s ticket in the general election coming in November. Oftentimes these more local elections draw fewer voters than some of the high-profile contests like the presidential race, but both of these elections, primary and general, (called “midterm elections” because they come halfway through the current president’s term) are at least as important. This time voters are choosing more local officials that make decisions affecting us closer to home. Also, the results can make a difference in the overall political climate as every election is an opportunity for the public to speak its voice.
I have noticed over the last few years that many people are paying closer attention to politics. I see this in the old and young alike. Even high school students are watching what’s happening in their government, and they are ready to get involved. Anyone who will be 18 on or before the date of the General Election (November 6) can register and cast a ballot in the Primary Election. If you didn’t get registered in time for the Primary, it’s not too late to do so for the General Election in the fall.
On Primary Election Day the polls will be open 6 a.m.-6 p.m. You can verify your registration, find out where you vote (by precinct or by address), and see a list of the candidates you will find on your ballot, by going online to allencounty.us/election-board or by calling the Election Board at (260) 449-7329.
In-person early voting, or, voting before Election Day started on April 10 and is being held on the main floor at the Rousseau Centre, 1 E. Main St., Fort Wayne: Saturday, April 28, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.; Monday-Friday, until May 1, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; and Monday, May 7, 8 a.m.-noon.
Early voting is also available at five sites during extended hours: Indiana Wesleyan University (8211 W. Jefferson Blvd), Ivy Tech Northeast (3800 N. Anthony Blvd.), Manchester University (10627 Diebold Road), the Public Safety Academy (7602 Patriot Crossing), and the Rousseau Center (1 E. Main St.). Hours are Wednesday-Friday, May 2-4, from 8 a.m.-8 p.m., and Saturday, May 5, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
You can also cast a mail-in ballot if you are unable to get to the polls. Details on that process can be found online (allencounty.us/election-board) or, again, by calling the Election Board at (260) 449-7329.
Voter registration for the primary ended on April 9 (Indiana law closes voter registration thirty days prior to an election.), but to vote in November you can still submit a registration form up until October 9, 2018. The voter registration office is at the Rousseau Centre, 1 E. Main St., Fort Wayne, in Suite 176. Hours are 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays. Visit allencounty.us/voter-registration for details or to register online.
It’s never too late to get involved in your community, and a great way to do that is to pay attention to the news and get out to vote!
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