How the county is prepared for Election Day and races to watch


The final stretch of the 2018 mid-term election is here as candidates make last-minute appeals for the support of voters.

On Tuesday evening, many will gather at the Jackson County Courthouse on Main Street in Brownstown to hear results of the election that features local, state and federal races.

But preparations for the big day have been on-going for quite sometime.

Training sessions for the county’s 128 election officials have been conducted in recent days. The seventh and final session that covers roles for poll workers was conducted Thursday evening.

“The great part about our poll workers is they come back year after year,” said county Clerk Amanda Lowery.

The county has 30 precincts and each requires an inspector, two clerks and two judges.

The inspector is in charge of each polling site, coordinating equipment and handling logistics, Lowery said.

The clerks — a Republican and Democrat — maintain the poll books and check identification. The judges — also fone from each party — help set up voting machines for voters.

Lowery said poll workers are dedicated to their tasks and experience long workdays on Election Day and the days leading up to it.

“It’s a 13-hour long day,” she said. “They have to set up the night before and attend training.”

The county election board recently had a rare situation arise.

Theresa Edington, who was the Democratic candidate for Pershing Township Trustee, unexpectedly passed away Oct. 4.

The Jackson County Democratic Party appointed her husband, Tim Edington, to replace her on the ballot.

The board had to scheduled the reprinting of 450 ballots with Tim Edington’s name on them and reprogram voting machines.

“It was a small bump in the road,” said Lowery, who is required to serve on the election board as secretary. The other board members are Republican Tom Terkhorn of Seymour and Democrat Julie Rohlfing of Brownstown.

The timing of reprinting was stressful because of everything else that happens in the process of preparing for an election, Lowery said, but the process went smooth.

Lowery said she appreciated the Democratic Party for quickly finding a candidate instead of waiting until the last moment, which would have been more stressful.

“I’m thankful that the party made the appointment when they did because it gave us more time to get everything reprinted and reworked as opposed to waiting until the last possible moment,” she said. “That would have been much, much, much more stressful.”

All eyes will be on the U.S. Senate race between Democrat incumbent Joe Donnelly and Republican Mike Braun. Donnelly, first elected in 2012, is considered one of the nation’s most vulnerable Democrats running for reelection.

The race has brought in President Donald J. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Lindsay Graham and Sen. Cory Booker. Former President Barack Obama will rally for Donnelly in Gary on Sunday.

The hotly contested race has likely increased turnout for early voting here, as numbers have reached records for a midterm election.

Locally, the race for Jackson County sheriff also is one to watch. Voters also will pick three county council representatives, a clerk and a recorder. Some also will pick township trustees.

The sheriff’s office is open as Sheriff Mike Carothers can’t seek reelection because of term limits.

Jackson County officers Rick Meyer and Jeff Walters are in a battle to succeed Carothers.

Meyer emerged as the winner of a four-way race for the Republican nomination this spring. Walters was uncontested in the Democratic primary.

Voters in Jackson County also will help pick a winner in for state’s Ninth Congressional District, a seat presently held by incumbent Republican Trey Hollingsworth of Jeffersonville. He is being challenged by Democrat Liz Watson of Bloomington.

Hollingsworth is nearing the end of his first term and is part of national Republicans’ effort to hold control of the House.

State races on the ballot include the House District 69 seat between incumbent Republican Jim Lucas of Seymour and Democrat and political newcomer Steve Schoettmer. Lucas, first elected in 2012, is seeking his fourth term. District 69 includes part of Browntown Township and all of Hamilton, Jackson, Redding, Vernon and Washington Township.

Republican incumbent Chris May of Bedford also is being challenged by Democrat Jared Stancombe for District 65, which includes Pershing and Salt Creek townships in Jackson County.

District 73 representative Steve Davisson is unopposed. That district includes part of Brownstown Township and all of Carr, Grassy Fork and Owen townships.

Other local races on the ballot include clerk, recorder, council district seats, township trustee and board races and local school board races. Uncontested races are circuit court judge, prosecutor, assessor and commissioner District 3.

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