HENDRICKS COUNTY — Five votes separated Zachary Lowe and Brad Williams in their North West Hendricks School Board Race. While there are still some ballots to count, Williams, as of now, has squeaked by with the win
Brent Johnson, who lives in Hendricks County and is a self-described political junkie, says each election year, he noticed close races decided by a handful of votes.
"I hear a lot of people say my vote doesn't matter or they're all the same or what difference does it make. I think this is a perfect example that your vote does matter," Johnson said. "That's why I think it's important to vote because you just never know."
"Just about every elections there are close races. It may not be where you voted but there's probably one close by," Andrew Downs, Director Emeritus of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics, said.
Downs says close races should be a reminder to people that their vote matters and the more local a race is, the more impact it could have on you.
"Don't fixate on the big vote, The thing that's getting everybody's attention, go look for those races where there's a potential for a small margin to shift the difference, like a school board race," Downs said.
While there are a lot of ways to push back on voter apathy, getting people to the polls, Downs says one of the biggest is making your vote personal.
"It's okay to ask what's in it for me. If you're a teacher, for example, school board races should matter to you. If you're a police officer, the mayor's office should matter to you," Downs said.
Johnson says along with seeing how every vote matters, he thinks it's important to vote because of the people in his life.
"My grandparents both fought in World War II. I think, in a way, they were fighting for our right to vote and then, my kids. I want to leave this place a little better for them," Johnson said. "The fact we're allowed to express our point of view is priceless."
You may recognize Brad Williams' name from several WRTV Investigates stories.
Williams was on the board when his nephew, former Tri-West High School Teacher and Coach Tyler Bruce, was accused of touching a student under her clothing on several occasions and deleting information off of his phone before giving it to law enforcement. Bruce reached a plea agreement with Hendricks County prosecutors. He was sentenced to a year of probation, and upon successful completion of 275 days of probation without a violation, may petition for early release.
The school board admitted to an oversight of letting Williams take part in their decisions involving Bruce. Two incumbents on the board lost their races in 2020. Williams was not up for re-election until this year.