Students stream through every hallway and crevice of the Indiana Memorial Union between classes — it’s lunchtime. But the University Club stands still.
IMU polling stations were introduced fall 2018, situated on the first floor in the University Club. A year later, the IMU polls saw very few voters Tuesday during Election Day.
Outside of the ornate University Club sat a “vote here” sign, but there were no voters inside. The two voting booths sat empty. The volunteers waited.
The eight volunteers manning the IMU poll arrived at 5 a.m. to start off their day, and didn’t see their first voter until 8:58 a.m.
One woman did come in to vote when the polls opened at 6:00 a.m., but she wasn’t in the right place. That was the case with many people that came into the University Club to vote.
Poll inspector Chantalle LaFontant said at 1 p.m. they had turned away around 10 people because they were from the wrong precinct or weren’t registered to vote. She said they’ve only had eight eligible people cast their votes.
“If we break 20 I’d be surprised,” LaFontant said.
A man walked in. He approached the poll clerks, Sandy Sluss and John Bean, at the front desk. Maybe they had their ninth voter of the day.
Sluss looked him up and said he wasn’t registered to vote. The man left and Sluss returned to her crossword.
Her red ink occupied almost all of the boxes in the crossword, she only had a few words left. On the other half of her folded newspaper was the Sudoku she already completed.
Sluss said she passed the long hours through Sudoku and many cups of coffee. But her favorite way to pass the time was through conversation.
Sluss didn’t know Bean before the start of the day, but halfway through the two had become friends.
At just over the halfway point of Election Day, the IMU poll was averaging just over one voter an hour.
Some of the volunteers made a visit to the IMU food court to tide them over until dinner. They returned with plates of burgers and fries and take-away boxes of Juannita’s.
A pile of empty ballots sat on the table for precincts Bloomington 5 and Bloomington 23. The ballots only featured one position to vote on: Common Council Member District 2 City of Bloomington.
There was only one mark to be made on the ballot, and it was either for Sue Sgambelluri or Andrew Guenther.
Although the ballot only features one item to vote on, LaFontant said people should still cast their votes at the polls.
“The council decides what happens in this town for the most part,” LaFontant said. “The mayor proposes but they decide. So it is important.”
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