Students line up for first day of early voting
A multicolored array of campaign signs blew in the wind in front of Assembly Hall. Local candidates shook hands and made one last pitch to those passing through the doors.
Early voting had come to the home of Hoosier basketball.
Monday was the first day of early voting at Assembly Hall and continues today in the south lobby from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
It’s the only satellite early voting site on campus and the final satellite voting location of the season.
Early voting acts as an extra opportunity for voters to cast their ballot before Nov. 6, Election Day, when lines are long and time is limited.
Larime Wilson, an early voting lead, said 333 people voted Monday.
Nearly 100 of those ballots were cast in the final hour of the site’s operating hours.
X and A route busses brought some students to polls. Other walked in the gusts that hit 40 mph. Those who could drove.
For most of the day Assembly Hall saw relatively light traffic. Lines formed when the polls first opened at 10 a.m. and then again after 3 p.m. through closing time.
“I appreciate all your patience” Wilson said as she made her way down the line, reminding voters to silence their cell phones. “I’m sorry for the wait.”
Elizabeth McClary, a junior, doesn’t have a car. Getting to her voting day precinct was a challenge, so Assembly Hall became a clear choice.
“It was a lot easier to go on campus,” McClary said.
Though she was done for classes for the day, she said the lines could have been shorter.
“I feel bad for people who don’t know who come between classes and might have to leave,” she said.
Those in line, a mix of students and other community members, were leaving classes or getting off of work. Some squeezed in voting between classes.
“It took a little longer than expected,” junior Jorden Block said as he made his way to the X Route bus, voting sticker pressed onto his backpack strap. He had class in Ballantine Hall in 20 minutes.
The voting process slowed in the final hours of operation for two reasons, Wilson said.
One delay stemmed from voters needing to update their address at the polling station. Though not a uniquely student driven problem, the transient nature of students helped that group make up a good portion of the address changers, Wilson noted.
A second delay was caused by a reduction in technology. Four computers connected to the state’s voter registration database were used at previous satellite early voting sites and are currently used at central early voting site at the Curry Building, 214 W.
Wilson said IU officials provided only two secure Internet connections, limiting the voting system to just two computers checking voter registrations.
This station comes early in the voting process and thus helped back up the line of people waiting to vote.
Monroe County IT officials on scene denied comment and contact with county heads were not immediately answered.
Many voters in line said they turned out to avoid the long lines usually associated with Election Day.
The line stretched some 30 people deep by 5 p.m., but sophomore Melissa Calero didn’t mind.
“I’m happy there’s a long line because that means there’s a lot of people voting,”
The member of IU College Democrats worked during the last month in the Get Out the Vote effort. She hoped some of those she helped register would stop by Assembly Hall.
Also waiting in line was Rebecca Mandell, a senior, who said she got an email Monday morning from an academic mailing list reminding voters about the Assembly Hall voting site. She missed a class to vote.
“I’m giving myself a good reason to miss stats,” Mandell said, laughing.
Her friend, Nick Colvin, a senior, said he wanted to avoid long Election Day lines like he encountered in 2008. He also defended Mandell.
“She told me earlier that performing her civic duty is more important than learning a two-tailed T-test,” Colvin said.
Early voting continues through next Monday, except on Sunday, at the Curry
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