By Lasca Randels
And Dan Spalding
WARSAW — The traditional slow trickle of voters seemed to continue as usual on Primary Election Day Tuesday, June 2, despite the pandemic.
Election officials combined numerous polling places across Kosciusko County and encouraged early voting this year as a result of the coronavirus, but its impact on overall voting in Tuesday’s election was unclear midway through the day.
At the Center Lake Pavillion, Warsaw’s Fourth Ward, 1st Precinct and Fifth Ward, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Precincts, poll inspectors Marta Dunwell-Klotz and Linda Lent said there had been “a steady trickle” of voters.
“No lulls, just kind of a steady trickle,” Dunwell-Klotz said. “I think it’s less than normal, but that’s because of mail-ins. And a lot of people voted early.”
Voter turnout for Wayne Township’s 6th and 7th precincts at the Moose Lodge on Lake Street in Warsaw was also steady.
“Surprisingly, I think we’re busier than we expected, given the fact that people have already done the mail-in ballots or absentee,” said poll inspector Gordon Nash. “I would call it steady.”
Nash said things have been a little different this year due to machines being wiped down and sanitized in between voters.
Although disposable styluses were not being used at that location, Nash said once a person has finished voting, they drop the stylus into a cloth and the stylus gets sprayed before being used again.
“Some people are bringing their own styluses,” Nash added.
Activity at the polling place at Atwood Community Building seemed busier than expected, but inspector Nancy Adams, said it was hard to tell because three polling places – Harrison 1, Prairie 1 and Prairie 2 – had been combined.
She said they had well over 200 ballots cast shortly after noon.
But she and other poll workers said the process of checking IDs and signing people in was faster this year because of the use of polling pads (iPads) unlike the traditional checking with paperwork.
Atwood also had plenty of hand sanitizers, disposable styluses and gloves. Equipment was being cleaned after every voter finished with their ballot.
Ian Woods and his brother, Joel, came in to vote around the noon hour at Atwood. They were both wearing masks and said they were undeterred by the virus.
“It is good to take precautions, but it’s also good to vote,” Ian Woods said.
Tuesday’s ballot includes the presidential primary, but that was settled on the Democratic side way before the May primary was pushed back. President Donald Trump will face the presumptive nominee for the Democrats, Joe Biden, in the fall election.
Local contests of interest include a four-way race for the three at-large seats on Kosciusko County Council and a four-way race for the Superior 3 court judge.
Other races include State House District 18 and District 22.