News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 4, 2012

Voters fill courthouse halls to cast early ballots

Arthur Foulkes
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — The tenor of the 2012 election is definitely picking up as Tuesday draws near.

A steady stream of voters kept poll workers busy Saturday at the early voting station inside the Vigo County Courthouse. At different times, there were up to 30 or more people standing in line waiting to cast an early ballot.

Interest in this election seems more intense than usual, several voters said.

“This is probably the most important election of my lifetime, I would say,” said Libby Edington, who was voting Saturday morning with her daughter, Allison Neff. “I don’t think this country can take another four years of the Obama administration.”

Several voters, when asked what brought them to the polls, indicated they were voting against either President Obama or Mitt Romney, his Republican opponent, rather than in favor of either.

“Voting against Romney is what brought me out,” said a voter from Lost Creek township who made the trip to the Courthouse with his daughter, who also cast a ballot for Obama. “I don’t want to vote for someone who made their money sending jobs overseas and then lying about it,” he said. “I’d still rather have Clinton in there than Obama,” he added.

Presidential races typically generate more interest than other elections, said Lou Ann Utz, coordinator of the early voting. “It’s been quite busy everyday.”

There had been nearly 4,000 early votes cast in Vigo County as of Friday morning, according to the clerk’s office. Utz said another 370 voted Friday. With high numbers Saturday and early voting offered until noon Monday, the total of early votes could reach about 5,000 in Vigo County.

Meanwhile, candidates for county, state and national offices were traipsing around the Wabash Valley in a last-minute effort to get supporters to the polls on Saturday.

Dave Crooks, the Democratic candidate seeking the 8th Congressional District seat, said Saturday morning his volunteers and workers were busy in four different cities making calls. Today, Crooks will be in traditionally Democratic Vermillion County most of the day attempting to rally voters, he said.

“It will be nonstop until the polls close,” Crooks said, speaking from an active phone bank in Washington, his hometown. Crooks also made a stop Saturday in Terre Haute with gubernatorial candidate John Gregg.

Rep. Larry Bucshon, the Republican incumbent battling Crooks, was also busy campaigning this weekend and planned to be in Terre Haute on election day as his re-election campaign comes to a close.

“I think there’s a lot of voter enthusiasm,” Bucshon said, noting this year’s high early voting figures. He also said internal polling gives him reason to be optimistic about a victory, but “the only poll that counts is on Nov. 6.”

Both Bucshon and Crooks said the emphasis in the last days of the campaign is on rallying supporters and both were using telephone calling centers to shake their last possible voters to the polls.

 Further down the ballot, candidates for state and county offices were also working the campaign circuit Saturday. Jim Mann, a Democrat hoping to take the 46th Indiana House District seat from Republican Bob Heaton, was campaigning Saturday in Terre Haute. Heaton, meanwhile, was in the eastern part of the 46th District targeting voters there, he said.

Meanwhile, voters were also showing their interest in the 2012 election has not waned in the final days of the campaign.

“I think it’s a pretty important election,” said Christina Daily of Terre Haute, who was voting in her first election since she turned 18 more than a decade ago. She has taken a stronger interest in this year’s election and has made an effort to learn about the candidates and the issues at stake. “I wanted to get in my two cents,” she said.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com.