By JOHN KLINE
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Its been just under three weeks since the kickoff of early and absentee voting in Elkhart County, and election officials are already reporting healthy turnouts at the county’s two early voting locations in the leadup to the Nov. 6 general election.
“I can’t give you specifics about it, but I think we’re experiencing a good turnout, at least at our two locations here in Goshen and in Elkhart,” said Wayne Kramer, chairman of the Elkhart County Election Board. “How it compares to previous years I can’t say, but it opened on Oct. 8, and from what I’m hearing it has been a pretty good turnout so far.”
And according to Kramer, that’s in keeping with what he’s hearing from a majority of election officials across the country right now.
“From indicators we’re seeing across the country, it seems like early voting has been fairly strong across the board,” Kramer said. “I would expect we would probably experience a similar situation here in Elkhart County.”
Kramer believes convenience and ease of access plays a big part in increased early voting, as well as persuasion as political campaigns are encouraging early voting.
That’s a tactic Kramer said he saw used particularly well by the Obama campaign back in 2008, and something he anticipates will make a strong appearance again leading up to Nov. 6.
“The Obama folks did a heck of a job getting a large number of voters to the polls early,” Kramer said. “In 2008, they brought them in by the bus load, and I don’t think we’ve seen that as of yet, but it wouldn’t surprise me if we see it again.”
Nappanee resident Harold Silvers was one of several Elkhart County voters to turn up at the early voting location in Goshen Wednesday afternoon to cast his ballot. Early/absentee voting in person can be done at two locations within the county:
• Goshen — County Administration Building, 117 N. Second St., Room 108
• Elkhart — County Courts Building, 315 S. Second St.
“I decided to vote early because the election gets in the way of my hunting season,” Silvers said. “So, I wanted to get it out of the way.”
Duane Arnold, Dunlap, said he chose to vote early Wednesday so he could focus on his duties as a poll worker on election day.
“I’ll be working at a different precinct (on election day),” Arnold said. “I did it last spring when a friend invited me. He has been doing it for several years. I’ve never been part of the political process, other than voting, so I thought I’d try it.”
For Marcella and Roger Kisseberth of Goshen, Wednesday’s early voting was all about getting their voting duties over so they could set off on their annual fall vacation without worrying.
“We’re actually leaving town right now,” Marcella said with a laugh. “We do it a lot, because we’re always gone on election day.”
As for Goshen’s Erika Peterson-Veatch, voting early was all about avoiding any potential long lines at the polls on election day.
“During the last election, everybody was talking about how the lines were going to be real long and there’d be a long wait,” Peterson-Veatch said. “I was concerned about not getting it done and being late for work, so it’s nice just to get it done and not have to worry about it.”
Early/absentee voting in person for the 2012 Presidential Election ends at noon Monday, Nov. 5.
Voters wishing to vote absentee will need to show a photo ID that meets all of the following criteria:
• Displays the voter’s photo;
• Displays the voter’s name;
• Displays an expiration date, and must either be current, or have expired after Nov. 2, 2010; and
• Be issued by the State of Indiana, or the Federal Government.
In most cases, an Indiana driver’s license, Indiana photo ID card, Military ID or U.S. Passport is sufficient. A student ID from an Indiana State school may only be used if it meets all of the four criteria specified above. A student ID from a private institution may not be used for voting purposes.
Early/absentee voting times are as follows:
• Mondays (except Nov. 5), 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Tuesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Saturday, Oct. 27, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• Saturday, Nov. 3, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• Monday, Nov. 5, 8 a.m. to noon
The voter boards will remain open through the lunch hour.