TERRE HAUTE —
It’s an historic election day today in Vermillion County.
For the first time in most peoples’ memories, the Republican Party is managing the county’s polling places for today’s election – a result of winning more votes in the 2010 Indiana Secretary of State election within the county.
And that’s not the only history-making element of today’s balloting. Vermillion County is also becoming probably the first county in Indiana to have a high school student poll worker stationed at every polling site.
“As far as I know, it’s unprecedented,” said Dale Simmons, co-general counsel at the Indiana Election Division in Indianapolis.
The U.S. Help America Vote Act of 2002 encouraged states to use 16- and 17-year-old high school students as election day poll workers. The program, called Election Day Live, is still not very widely used in Indiana.
However, it could help Hoosier counties deal with an emerging national crisis in staffing polling sites.
“We’re losing a generation of poll workers,” Simmons said. “This is just a way to get some young people involved.”
Republicans and Democrats always have worked the polling sites in Vermillion County. But, because they are managing the sites this year, Republicans need one extra worker at each place. That means finding 17 additional poll workers, Yocum said.
“Student workers helped fill the void,” said Tim Yocum, chairman of the Vermillion County Republican Party. “It has worked out just right.”
While the Vermillion County GOP launched Election Day Live in the county, North and South Vermillion High Schools did the work of selecting the students, Yocum said.
“We had no role in the decisions,” Yocum said, adding the students must have at least a B average and were not chosen on partisan grounds. “The schools know their students,” he said.
This is about the fourth year Vermillion County’s GOP has placed student workers at the polling sites. Brittani Wright, a senior at South Vermillion, was a high school poll worker last year and volunteered again this year as an 18-year-old. She’ll be an inspector – essentially giving her responsibility for her polling place.
“I just kind of wanted to prove that students are just as capable of doing the important roles,” Wright said Monday, adding that she plans to study law and perhaps someday enter politics. She served as a polling place sheriff last year out of a desire to see how things work on election day, she said.
“It was definitely a positive experience for me,” Wright said. “I really had no idea how official voting was done.”
Florinda Pruitt, Vermillion County clerk, said the more-than 17 high school-age poll workers did fine in their training classes. In fact, Pruitt believes the students may have an easier time adapting to the county’s new electronic voting machines than some of the older polling place workers.
“We think it’s a very valuable educational experience for our students,” said Barbara Payton, principal of South Vermillion. “It’s good for our students to volunteer in our community and be seen in a positive way in the community … I’m just excited about having our students involved in the process.”
Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What to know
• The 2012 Indiana Primary Election is today, May 8. Polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 6 p.m.
• Hoosier voters can ask for either a Democrat Party ballot or a Republican Party ballot.
• Indiana law requires voters to show a photo ID.
• BMV license branches will be open 6 a.m.-6 p.m. today to issue state ID cards and driver’s licenses for use when voting.
• Vigo County Democrat and Republican ballots can be viewed online at www.vigocounty.in.gov.
• The Vigo County Clerk’s office can be reached at (812) 462-3235.
• More information is available at www.indianavoters.com and www.in.gov/sos/elections.
TERRE HAUTE —
It’s an historic election day today in Vermillion County.
- Election 2012
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Vigo ballots saw lengthy list of presidential candidates
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Anderson tops Mason: GOP candidate unseats incumbent Dem Commissioner Paul Mason
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Clay County election 2012
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Parke County election 2012
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Vigo sees strong voter turnout for presidential election
Vigo County saw a strong voter turnout — 52.5 percent — in Tuesday’s 2012 general election, but that total fell short of the nearly 56 percent voter turnout in the presidential election four years ago.
Vermillion County election 2012
Voter turnout in Vermillion County Tuesday was 59 percent Tuesday as more than 6,750 voters cast ballots in 17 precincts.
Obama wins re-election
President Barack Obama won re-election Tuesday night despite a fierce challenge from Republican Mitt Romney as well as the weak economy and high unemployment that encumbered his first term and crimped the middle class dreams of millions.
Incumbent Anderson retains seat
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Congressman Bucshon retains seat in House
Indiana Congressman Larry Bucshon, a Republican, held off a tough election challenge to retain his 8th District U.S. House seat.
Dems sweep Council At-Large seats
Democrats swept all three Vigo County Council At-Large seats Tuesday, returning two incumbents plus adding a newcomer to the body.
Crockett wins to take over Vigo clerk’s office
In the Vigo County clerk’s race, Democrat Dave Crockett defeated Republican Mike Morris by a vote of 21,025 to 16,857.
Challenger Ritz knocks off Bennett in state superintendent race
Democrat challenger Glenda Ritz pulled off a stunning upset Tuesday night, beating incumbent Republican Tony Bennett in the unexpectedly tight race for Indiana superintendent of public instruction.
Donnelly gives Democrats Indiana Senate victory
Democrat Joe Donnelly triumphed Tuesday in one of the nation’s most tumultuous Senate races, capitalizing on fallout over his tea party-backed opponent’s comment that a pregnancy resulting from rape is “something God intended” to capture a seat that just a year ago looked to be a lock for Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar.
Heaton wins re-election in Indiana House District 46
In House District 46, incumbent Republican Bob Heaton won re-election to a second term, defeating Democrat James Mann II, who ran for elected office for the first time.
Longtime Rep. Borders loses re-election bid
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Phone system glitch slows vote counting in Vigo Courthouse
A phone system problem at the Vigo County Courthouse has slowed down vote counting tonight.
- SLIDESHOW: General Election 2012 Photos by Tribune-Star photographers Bob Poynter, Joe Garza and Jim Avelis. Check back for more photos.
Vigo County seeing strong voter turnout
Voter turnout appears strong in Vigo County as election 2012 reaches its climax.
Indiana voters can buy alcohol after voting this year
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What Indiana voters have to say about 2012 races
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Voting machine problems delay some Indiana voters
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Indiana race could be showdown over school changes
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Congressional, State Representative debates set for October
The League of Women Voters of Knox County (Vincennes) will host two live televised debates in Vincennes in October.
The first debate will be Oct. 11 at 8 p.m. EDT between the candidates for Indiana House of Representatives, District 45, Rep. Kreg Battles and Rep. Bruce Borders.
The second debate will be Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. featuring the candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 8th District, Congressman Larry Bucshon, Dave Crooks, and Bart Gadau. This Congressional debate will be co-hosted by the League of Women Voters of Vigo County (Terre Haute).
AG candidate spells out concerns
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Dates set for Indiana Senate, governor debates
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Lieutenant governor candidates debate farm issues today
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Candidates agree to three gubernatorial debates
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Gregg introduces State Sen. Vi Simpson as choice for lieutenant governor
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- More Election 2012 Headlines
- Indiana House leader pledges no abuse of super-majority power