Indiana Daily Student

LIVE UPDATE: Scenes, news around Monroe County on Election Day

The Indiana Daily Student will bring you news, updates and scenes all day at the polls as well results after they close. We have you covered so you know who's on your ballot and whether your candidates are in the lead.

Check out the IDS's midterm elections landing page for candidate profiles, news leading up to Election Day and live results reporting.

9 p.m. at the Johnson Creamery Building

In a room in the Johnson Creamery Building, Republicans contemplated another year of local losses in Monroe County.  

A woman in a checkered flannel and a cowboy hat checked her phone while another woman packed up remaining snacks. Election coverage from CBS played on a big TV screen at the back of the room.  

“This is a situation where things are kind of raw,” William Ellis, chair of the Republican party, said.  

Ellis lamented how Perry Robinson, a candidate for Monroe County Commissioner, had the money and reached tens of thousands of voters through phone calls and doors but still lost.  

“Democrats stay loyal to their party. We don’t,” Ellis said. 

Someone sitting near Ellis interrupted the speech.  

“They voted in a damn dead person for the presidency, what do you think?” he said.  

A man in a suit folded over sheets of election results, and a kid in a camo Adidas sweatshirt in the back leaned over in his chair, bored. 

“Republicans generally are cowards,” Ellis continued. “When the going gets tough, they run away. “ 

Jim Allen, a candidate for Monroe County Council who lost to Peter Iversen, was still wearing a campaign shirt under his jacket. This was his second time running for the position.  

“I’m disappointed,” he said. “We worked hard, and we didn’t do any mudslinging or bad campaigning.” 

Allen said leadership was good, but that Republicans simply didn’t turnout. 

“So we’ll come back next election and give it another try,” he said.  

Jake Dodds, a candidate for Benton Township Board, knew going in that his candidacy was a long shot, but after talking to people at the polls, he felt optimistic.  

“I think it’s tough because talking to everyone today, it seemed very positive,” Dodds said. “I think the mood in here is very somber.” 

7:15 p.m. at Switchyard Brewery  

A pride flag hung in the front window and as local democrats gathered for an event hosted by Monroe County Democrats at Switchyard Brewery 

By 8 p.m., over 100 people had arrived as a three-member band, Busman’s Holiday, began their set.   

Switchyard is owned by Indiana District 46 candidate Kurtis Cummings.  

Cummings said he chose to run because his opponent, Bob Heaton, has ran unopposed for four years.  

“That’s just not the way democracy is supposed to work,” Cummings said.  

By 9:30 p.m., some of the candidates realized they won their respective races. This included Ruben Marté, currently a captain with the Indiana State Police.  

“I want us to be an example for other counties to follow,” Marté said. "Let's make Monroe County a whole lot safer.”  

Peter Iversen, a candidate for Monroe County Council, also celebrated a win.  

Iversen’s campaign utilized Reach, a progressive campaign organization app that allows candidates to encourage voter registration, organize events and conduct surveys.  

“In this campaign, we did a really cool thing, we took advantage of technology,” Iversen said. 

Throughout the night, Switchyard’s TVs aired midterms coverage from CNN and MSNBC. Each time a Democrat somewhere in the country was announced as a winner, the entire place cheered. 

7:15 p.m.

Second set of results are in. Check those out here.

6:19 p.m.

The first set of results is in.

6 p.m.

Monroe County polls are officially closed.

Those still in line to vote should remain in line, as they are permitted to vote.

5:42 p.m.

22,348 Monroe County voters cast ballots on election day, Nicole Browne said in an email Tuesday night. In addition, 14,064 voters cast ballots by early voting.

5 p.m. at Binford Elementary

With one hour until the polls close, Jenny and Maisie Robinson stood near the entrance to Binford Elementary handing out informational papers about the Monroe County Community School Corporation referendum.  

The referendum would tax residents 18.5 cents per $100 of assessed property value to fund MCCSC. Without this funding, the school corporation’s cash balance would dip below zero in two years, according to recent IDS coverage. 

“It matters so much for the quality of education in our county and because our students and our teachers deserve to have an adequately funded school system,” Jenny said.  

Maisie, who is an MCCSC student in eighth grade, said she participates in a lot of extracurriculars and takes elective classes.  

“These are all things that would likely be damaged without the money coming from the referendum, so I really appreciate the funding as a student,” Maisie said. 

Jenny said voters have been receptive to the referendum 

“I know this community values education, so I really feel fortunate that way,” she said.  

3:45 p.m. at Bloomington North High School 

A long road, striped with speed bumps, winds behind the high school. Its twists and turns lead to signs reading “vote here!” in red, white and blue and a polling entrance freckled with campaign signs of all parties. 

Under the maroon and gold entrance, basketball trophies and cross-country plaques sit across the polling place from a voter’s bill of rights poster. The school’s hallways are blocked off with dividers, with voting booths scattered across the patterned foyer floor. 

Voting here has gone smoothly all day, voting administrator Julie England said. There’s been a constant stream of voters coming in. She has worked the polls for the past three elections, and said it’s been busier this year than in the past.  

Student voter Tvisha Chattergea said voting was easy for her, and everyone working at the high school was enthusiastic and passionate. It’s her second time voting. She said she’s a little nervous for the results of the election as it’s very up in the air. 

“The state is split on a lot of matters that affect day-to-day lives,” Chattergea said. 

Kevin Koessler, another voter, agreed. It was his first time voting at the high school, and he said it felt very streamlined. He said it’ll be interesting to see what happens with this election, because races are very close.  

Several Bloomington North teachers voted; they had issues with the Monroe County Community School Corporation referendum. One teacher, Shermeen Farid, said she would have missed the referendum question if a poll worker hadn’t mentioned it because of its location. The question didn't include the word referendum and wasn’t located near any of the other questions. 

“He said there’s one question on the front, and thank God he did,” Farid said. “I think they want people to miss it.”  

When the referendum question was first raised at the end of June, Farid said she heard that if every teacher in the corporation guaranteed five “yes" votes, it would be able to be passed.  

“So, talk to five people,” Farid explained. “We can’t do any of that on school property.” 

Farid has six kids, which she called “her five votes.” Still, she said she’s nervous.  

3 p.m.

16,962 votes have been cast in the county, Monroe Country Clerk Nicole Browne said in an email. Browne confirmed the number of Election Day voters has surpassed the number of those who voted early.

2 p.m. at the Indiana Memorial Union 

Approximately 30 campaign signs dotted the landscape next to the entrance to Whittenberger Auditorium at the Indiana Memorial Union. Some are demands: “VOTE YES MCCSC NOVEMBER REFERENDUM.” Some are simple declarative statements: “Ashley Pirani for MCCSC School Board.” All stop at the 50-foot mark required by Indiana state law: “BEYOND THIS POINT NO CAMPAIGNING OR DISTRIBUTION OF LITERATURE.” 

The foyer inside the auditorium is quiet and nearly empty, save for a concessions table to the left. A statue of “Ugolino and His Sons” from Dante’s “Inferno” looms over trays of potato chips, granola bars and bottled waters. Green arrows line the floor, both inside and outside, pointing prospective voters toward the polling room directly across from the food and drinks. As with the foyer, the room is quiet — even the poll workers are sitting in silence.  

At around 2:30 p.m., the room starts to fill up. One student walks in, then another and then another. Soon, there are about eight students in the room at once, waiting in line and voting in the booths provided. Faces obscured, some at the booths choose to sit and others choose to stand and hunch over. As they finish, they return their ballots, grab a sticker and leave through a back hallway leading to the foyer. 

Clem Ledbetter stands in the corner checking for the required initials on the ballot and directing voters to their booths.  

“Hello, can I look at your ballot real quick?” they say to one student. “Awesome, awesome. So, when you’re voting make sure that you fill it out like this, like it’s a Scantron.” 

Ledbetter, who wasn’t allowed to talk about their personal opinions while working the polls, said they had been at the IMU since 4:30 a.m., and turnout among students had been high. While stopping often to help students, they said they voted early, and voting is important to them personally because of their queer, mixed race and second-generation American identities. 

“I want to make sure we are getting people into power who should be in power,” they said, being purposely vague about their own beliefs. “I just want to make sure that, in Indiana, people who should be in power do get that.” 

Meanwhile, arriving at around 2:20 p.m., Erin Wyatt, a candidate for the Monroe County Community School Corporation school board from District 1, is standing 50 feet from the Whittenberger entrance, holding a sign that reads “ERIN WYATT for School Board.”  

“I wanted to come here because I care about students,” she said. “I really want to make sure that they understand what’s on the ballot, especially if they’re from other areas.” 

Wyatt said she voted Oct. 12, the first day early voting opened in Indiana, and that, as a citizen, she finds the act of voting to be important.  

“We all have a responsibility to take part in our democratic process of voting, and especially this year when there’s so many things at stake,” she said. “But, I think it is a privilege, and it’s a right, and so we really should take advantage of that and get out there and have our voices be heard.” 

1:30 p.m. at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church 

A cluster of congenial campaigners lined the sidewalk leading to the front doors of the church. Decked out in campaign t-shirts and buttons, holding colorful signs matching the many staked into the nearby grass, the campaigners greeted each approaching voter with a smile.  

They chatted amongst themselves, being friendly despite the different names they wore across their chests.  

“Oh, I just love watching young people get out here and vote,” one woman commented to another campaigner.   

Among the campaigners stood one of the candidates himself. Perry Robinson, the Republican candidate for District 1 Monroe County Commissioner, said his mission  has been to personally meet as many voters as possible.  

In fact, he said he’s knocked on over 25,000 doors to introduce himself to voters. 

“I’m a local boy, I’ve lived here all my life,” Robinson said. “I already know a lot of people, and I know it’s about putting a face to the name.” 

Robinson chose to stand outside St. John the Apostle Catholic Church because it was the Monroe County polling site with the highest voter turnout as of 10 a.m., according to Monroe County Clerk Nicole Browne’s email.  

If he wins, Robinson said he will continue his emphasis on forming meaningful personal connections throughout Monroe County — so much so that his first order of business would be to shake the hands of every county employee.  

“I want to shake all the hands that work for this county as they’re coming through the door, plain and simple,” Robinson said.  

Just beyond Robinson, his fellow campaigners and the array of yard signs of all shapes and sizes, lay a different sign. This sign read “BEYOND THIS POINT NO CAMPAIGNING OR DISTRIBUTION OF LITERATURE.” 

The sign sets the boundaries for electioneering, meaning any verbal or written statements advocating for or against a candidate, political party or public issue beyond that point are considered a Class A misdemeanor, according to the Indiana 2022 Election Day Handbook.  

Yet, voters walking inside the church doors were almost immediately greeted with a flier reading “We will abolish abortion” tacked to the bulletin board hanging directly in front of the line of waiting voters.  

A clear opinionated comment on a matter of public question, inspector Ron Andrews said the sign constitutes electioneering. He also said he plans to remove it. 

This was not the first electioneering flier Andrews, who has been volunteering to facilitate elections since the 1980s, removed today.  

He said a voter posted a flier disparaging Planned Parenthood and promoting anti-abortion sentiments on the same bulletin board earlier in the day, which he already removed. Andrews also said the voter returned to apologize and express regret for posting the flier. 

Despite electioneering issues, Andrews said he felt uplifted by the voter turnout he saw.  

“Everybody should vote,” Andrews said. “I don’t know why they don’t, but everybody should vote.” 

1 p.m. 

13,248 voters have gone to the polls since the polls opened this morning, Monroe County Clerk Nicole Browne said in an email. 27% of registered voters have turned out. 

The number of voters turning out on Election Day is getting close to exceeding the number of voters who turned out during Early and Absentee voting, she said. 

11 a.m.

Over 24,000 votes have currently been cast between early voting and Election Day, Monroe County Clerk Nicole Browne said in email. Of that total, 10,285 of which were Election Day voters.

10:50 a.m. at the Indiana Memorial Union 

Tom Rastouki has been standing alone, quietly campaigning outside the 50-foot line since 8:50. “Carl Lamb for Judge” sign in hand, he’ll be there until 1. A tall and spectacled philosophy student, he’s the only campaigner at the IMU. 

“I feel a little bit uncomfortable approaching people,” Rastouki said. “However, I don’t know, I enjoy it. It’s a little bit meditative.” 

Rastouki supports Lamb because he thinks he’s impartial, he said, and he appreciates that he has more experience than his opponent. More than that, though, is the fact that Rastouki knows Lamb personally: Lamb is Rastouki’s boss.  

He hopes Lamb will win, even though that’ll mean losing his job as a legal intern. He said he’ll know immediately: he’s going to dinner with Lamb later tonight. 

Rastouki said he’d talked to a decent amount of people while campaigning. Still, there haven’t been as many people voting as he thought there would be. It’s no wonder — earlier this morning, the IMU was reportedly the lowest-attended polling site, according to Browne. 

Inside the polling room itself, six people were available to check voters in. Only three of them were working. Still, a slow trickle of voters made their way in. 

One such voter was Clara Garcia. A non-student in a largely student precinct, she stressed the importance of voting, even though she didn’t see many people there. Her reasons for voting were simple. 

“My rights. My body. I want to believe it’s my choice,” Garcia said. “Democracy has been scary for a while.” 

10:45 at Southside Christian Church 

Far away from the bustle of downtown Bloomington, a handful of voters were walking in and out of Southside Christian Church. The church, located south of town and sandwiched between highways and abandoned quarries, has had the second-highest number of voters so far.  

Two volunteers wearing red and white campaign T-shirts for Perry Robinson, a candidate for county commissioner, stood near the church’s brick-laden entrance and held a sign.  

“The day-to-day things are what the local candidates are about,” Lisa Hanner-Robinson, the candidate’s wife, said. “The roads you drive on, the safety issues, that’s all just right here locally.” 

A voter wearing a camouflage ball cap walked out of the polls.  

“The Democrats need their ass kicked,” he said when asked why he was voting.  

Some volunteers laughed as the man walked away. Tracy Miracle, a volunteer and the sister of Perry Robinson, reflected on the growing division in the country.  

Lisa Hanner-Robinson, left, and Tracy Miracle show their support for county commissioner candidate Perry Robinson at 10:45 a.m. Nov. 8, 2022, outside Southside Christian Church. Hanner-Robinson and Miracle are Perry Robinson's wife and sister, respectively. Marissa Meador

“I believe that people need to do their homework on each of the candidates,” said Tracy Miracle, the sister of the candidate. “And vote for the man or woman, not just the party.” 

Miracle said her brother respects and values women’s rights and believes everyone has the right to be heard. She said she believes many candidates share similar views with the opposing party and urged unity. 

“It starts here,” she said. “We’ve got to come together.” 

Kevin and Christy Fender stand near the polls with a sign for Carl Lamb, who is running to be a Monroe County Circuit Court judge.  

“Carl is a great candidate for judge,” Christy said. “So many years of experience, and very knowledgeable, and all around a very good, fair person.” 

“And a good buddy,” Kevin added.  

They both believe rural voters are more excited for this election, both nationally and locally, which they think is demonstrated by the high turnout at the polling location so far.  

“People are ready for a change,” Fender said. 

10 a.m.

The top three locations for voter turnout on Election Day are same three churches as the 8 a.m. update. St. John’s Catholic Church has the most with 591 voters and are processing an average of 146 voters per hour. Southside Christian Church comes next with 577 voters, and Ellettsville Christian Church has had 514 voters.

9 a.m.

Over 5,500 Monroe County voters have voted on Election Day since the polls opened at 6, Browne said in email. Burgoon Baptist Church with 20 voters and the Indiana Memorial Union with 18 voters are the two polling sites with the lowest turnout thus far.

8:43 a.m. at Ellettsville Community Church 

The church parking lot, with rows upon rows of parking spots surrounded by two big, brick church buildings, was packed with voters by mid-morning. Children sat in idling cars waiting for their parents to come back from voting. The only polling site in Ellettsville, the church had one of the highest turnouts at the 8 a.m. mark, according to Browne’s email. 

When she stepped outside after voting, Jillian Crouse said the process was easy and simple and everything was clear and laid out well. She called voting a privilege. 

“I’d like to see my options represented in the house,” Crouse said. “Just to know that my voice is being heard.” 

Signs from all parties lined the sidewalk, right up to the chalk line reading “no campaigning” drawn 50 feet away from the door. “Ruben Marté for Sheriff.” “Robinson Commissioner.” “Audits & Receipts: Jeff Maurer for Secretary of State.” 

Two foldout chairs sat by the line: one red, one blue. Near them sat Joyce Rayle, grandmother of Republican candidate for Sheriff Nathan Williamson, and Pat Salzmann, mother-in-law of Democratic candidate for Circuit Court Judge Seat 7 Emily Salzmann. The two, supporting opposing political parties, didn’t know each other before today but sat together in the idling car to warm up. 

“We’re working together,” Rayle said. “That’s what it takes:, working together. No matter what you call yourself.” 

Rayle, sporting a big “Williamson for Sheriff” button half-hidden by her black coat, said she’d be there from 6 to 6 — from when the polls opened to when they closed. A soft xylophone ringtone played from inside her coat — her kids, who were also working the polls, took turns calling her to check in. 

Rayle said she’s very excited about the election. She’s 87 and said she’d already voted early. 

“I didn’t think I was going to live ‘til Tuesday night,” Rayle said, laughing.  

By 10 a.m., 514 voters had visited Ellettsville Community Church to cast their ballots. 

8 a.m.

Multiple polling locations — all churches — have had voter turnout of over 200 in the first two hours. St. John’s Catholic Church has 276 voters, Southside Christian Church brought in 254 and Ellettsville Christian Church started off with 214.

6 a.m. at Election Operations 

At 5:55 a.m., voters were up before the sun came up. They lined up outside the dark, reflective windows of Election Operations on South Walnut Street in puffer jackets, clutching their coffee mugs in the 40-degree weather.  

Seven people became eight, then 13 as the clock passed 6 a.m., when the polls were set to open. By 6:05, the doors still weren’t open, and it was only getting colder. One man got back in his warm car to wait. Fluorescent white light illuminated the remaining wannabe voters as they checked their watches. 

Monroe County residents wait outside to vote before the polls open at 6 a.m. Nov. 8, 2022, at Election Operations at 302 S. Walnut St. This polling location had to delay voting due to ballots being locked in with absentee ballots. Olivia Bianco

Voter Matthew Siena works an hour away. Still, he waited in line this morning; he said he votes every year. 

“It’s our constitutional right,” Siena said, “and something I hope can continue to be a force for stability in the world, instead of chaos.” 

At 6:06, the door finally cracked. Warm light spilled out as a volunteer peeked out, glasses sliding down his nose.  

“Hear ye, hear ye,” he said with a grin. “Polls are open!” 

One by one, the people waiting rush inside. The line slows, then stops, and the door eases closed.  

There’s only a moment of calm before it’s slammed back open; a voter is leaving without having voted. He yells to the campaigners gathered outside and the people starting to trickle in: there’s no ballots. They don’t have the ballots; they’re in a different building, maybe, or maybe they’re not there at all. The voters don’t know.

It’s 6:12 when the men show up, each struggling under the weight of a blue cooler bag. The ballots have arrived. Technically, they were there all along: the empty ballots were in the secured back room with the absentee ballots, and the election inspector at Walnut Street hadn’t been given the code, volunteer Dave said.  

The line moves forward. 

50 feet from the polling location’s door, campaigners were setting up for the day. Isak Asare, who ran to represent Indiana’s 9th house district but was defeated in the primaries by Democrat Matt Fyfe, held up a sign for Emily Salzmann, the Democratic candidate for Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Seat 7.  

Barry Grooms, left, and Isak Asare pose around 6 a.m. Nov. 8, 2022, outside of Election Operations at 302 S. Walnut St. Both decided to show support for their candidates by holding signs outside while people cast their ballots. Olivia Bianco

“To me, elections really are a community affair,” Asare said. “I’m obviously here to support Emily Salzmann, but just generally to support the process as well. We all care and we’re all here to support the spirit.” 

“What he said,” Barry Grooms, a campaigner alongside Asare, said.  

Grooms was cheering on Democratic candidate for sheriff Ruben Marté. Across the street, Karin Davis held a sign for Marté’s opponent, Republican Nathan Williamson. Both said they were supporting someone they believed in. 

Still, Grooms went over to greet Davis. After a friendly conversation, they asked for a photo together. 

“It’s a study in contrast,” Grooms joked.  

As they talked, the first pink clouds of sunrise began to crest the Bloomington skyline. 

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