Indianapolis News and HeadlinesPoliticsElectionsIndiana Elections


A mostly smooth Election Day in Central Indiana, with one big exception

Madison County: Not enough voting machines
Pendleton vote two.jpg
Pendleton wait.jpg
Posted at 5:06 PM, Nov 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-03 20:22:46-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Election officials reported a smooth Election Day in Central Indiana, with one major exception.

The snafu was in Madison County, where voters were waiting in line long after the official 6 p.m. polling place closing time.

The problem, as explained by Madison County Clerk Olivia Pratt, was not enough voting machines for the big turnout. Pratt said the county has 170 new machines, but needs nearly twice that.

She believes the shortage would have been eased if Madison County was using voting centers, as have become the norm in many places. Instead, voters continued to go to traditional polling places.

The clerk had a lengthy proposal for voting centers:

But the plan was rejected by county commissioners earlier this year. "We tried to order more equipment because we knew if we weren’t getting voting centers, we were not going to have enough machines for the general election," said Pratt. "They (the County Commission) refused to pay for those also. So we couldn’t get more equipment and we talked to the state and they said if you don’t get either of the voting centers or more equipment, you’re going to have some of the longest wait times in the state. And so here we are today."

Pratt said she was sorry for all the voters who had to spend hours in line. "They didn’t do anything to deserve these wait times. It should not have been this long.”

In Indianapolis, Marion County Deputy Clerk Russell Hollis said there was an early problem at about ten voting centers when election officials realized they didn't have keys for the voting machines.

The typical wait, he said, was 15-minutes or less, but at a few sites it was about one hour. Voters there were reminded they could go to a nearby site with less wait time.

Monroe County reported more people voting Tuesday than in early voting.

It was the opposite in Hamilton County, where about 143,000 early ballots were cast, but just 53,000 people voted in person Tuesday. Hamilton County election turnout was estimated at a strong 74%.

Boone County was also an early voting hotspot—about 90% of voters went to the polls before Election Day. As a result, Tuesday wait times in Boone County were generally 10-minutes or less.

A lot of early voting in Hendricks County, and Delaware County kept waiting down, although some people spent on hour in line.

Johnson County election officials reported a smooth day at the polls.