Voters fear suppression due to long lines

Marion Co. resident waits up to 7 hours to vote
Posted at 11:21 PM, Oct 26, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS — "In the rain, in the cold, wife complaining," Joe Bailey said laughingly while waiting to vote.

"This is one of the shorter lines and people are just happy to be here and getting a chance to vote," said John Brennan as he stood in line for two hours with his wife Lynne.

In the cold and pouring rain Monday, Hoosiers spent up to two hours waiting to vote at the City-County Building. We caught up with Joe Bailey at the halfway point.

"I pray that we don't have to stand in line four-years from now like this," Bailey said.

The long line twisting through Lugar Plaza at the City-County Building is one of six locations where Marion County residents can now vote early. But there are concerns that lines running as long as seven hours are a form of voter suppression.

"I hope that the next four years that this is a sign that it's not going to stop us, but make it easier for us to vote. If voting didn't matter, then we wouldn't do this. So, don't try to suppress our vote," said Faith McKinney at the back of the line.

In Central Indiana, wait times to vote have varied by county and depend on population. Just east of Indianapolis, Census data shows 78,168 people live in Hancock County and are served by five early voting locations. To the north Hamilton County has eight early voting locations for 338,011 people. That's two more places to vote early than in Marion county which has a population of 964,582. That's roughly three times more residents than in Hamilton County.

So, who is behind the decisions when it comes to early voting? The Indiana Secretary of State's Office tells WRTV "The number of early voting locations is determined by the county. There is no state law limiting a county's ability to open early voting locations. So, in other words, they can have as many vote centers as they want." Voters hope they aren't standing in lines like this for the next big election.

"Society is too advanced to be standing in long lines. You know I expect this in a third world country, not in this country," Bailey said.

In addition to The City-County Building, Marion County residents can vote at five satellite voting centers:

  • Krannert Park Community Center, 605 S. High School Road, Indianapolis
  • MSD Lawrence Admin Building, 6501 Sunnyside Road, Indianapolis
  • Perry Township Government Center, 4925 Shelby St., Indianapolis
  • St Luke’s United Methodist Church, 100 W. 86th St., Indianapolis
  • Warren Township Government Center, 501 N. Post Road, Indianapolis

Each satellite location will be open for voting weekdays from Oct. 26th to Oct 30th from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m and next Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Marion County will have 188 vote centers open on election day.