The first mayoral race in Seymour since 2007 has sparked an uptick in voting ahead of Tuesday’s primary election.
The ballot features three Democrats, Tyler Henkle, 28, James Michael “Mike” Kelly, 61, and Rexanne Ude, 62, and five Republicans, Bridey Jacobi, 43, Tom Joray, 59, Matt Nicholson, 41, Nathan Otte, 35, and Matt Rowe, 44.
The winners will square off in the Nov. 5 general election.
In 2007, the primary ballot featured five Democrats and three Republicans, including Craig Luedeman, who became mayor. He is wrapping up his third term and has decided not to run again.
There also are primary races to replace Seymour Clerk-Treasurer Fred Lewis, who was first elected in 1991 and chose not to seek an eighth term.
Democrats vying for that job are Robin Ann Carpenter, 47, and Kristine Hackman, 63, and Republicans competing for that party’s nomination for that seat are Darrin Boas, 49, Dovie Stidham, 63, and Sarah Hodapp, 29.
Then there are Republican primaries for the District 3 and District 4 Seymour City Council seats.
The District 3 race involves Joshua A. Dailey, 43, and Chad Hubbard, 36, while the District 4 race features Seth L. Davidson, 35, against incumbent James W. Rebber, 73.
The only city residents who vote for the District 3 seat are those who live and vote in Jackson 3 North and Jackson 3 South, while District 4 is comprised of those who live in Jackson 4 North and Jackson 4 South.
As of Thursday, 395 or 3.8 percent of the 10,338 registered voters had cast ballots either at absentee polling sites in Seymour and Brownstown, by mail or by traveling board for the homebound.
County Clerk Melissa Hayes said early voting, which she expects to top 500 when completed, already has surpassed the absentee voting total for the 2007 primary. There were 266 votes cast early that year.
“We have prepared and have everything ready to go for Tuesday,” Hayes said. “That being said, I think there is always going to be a little bit of anxiousness that comes with the election process. As the clerk, I don’t take that responsibility lightly. We have been working hard leading up to Election Day so that everything goes as smoothly as possible.”
Hayes, who began her first four-year term Jan. 1, said she is expecting voter turnout of more than 30 percent.
“I don’t anticipate any problems, but I am fully prepared for whatever comes our way,” she said.
Hayes said her staff is amazing, and if problems do arise, they will have them resolved as quickly as possible.
It also helps there are only five polling sites and just 11 precincts voting for her first election, she said.
This year’s absentee total through Thursday was just shy of half of the total turnout for the 2015 primary, which featured just three Republican council races and seven candidates. That year, 7.13 percent or 840 of 11,777 registered voters went to the polls either early or on Election Day.
Of the 395 ballots cast this primary, 301 were made by city residents visiting the Seymour voting site at the Jackson County Public Library, and 22 more had been cast at the polling site at the Jackson County Judicial Center in Brownstown, said voter registration clerk Deseree McKain-Haurez.
Twenty-two voted by mail, and the remaining people voted with the help of the traveling board for those who are homebound.
Voting will continue from 8 a.m. to noon today at the library, 303 W. Second St., Seymour, and the judicial center, 109 S. Sugar St., Brownstown, a site required by state law because it’s the location of the county clerk’s office. The traveling board will operate the same hours today.