Early voting in muni elections strong in Porter County, down slightly in Lake

Early voter turnout for Tuesday’s municipal general election was stronger than that during the May primary in Porter County and down slightly in Lake County.

Porter County Clerk Jessica Bailey said traffic at the county’s early voting sites has been heavier than it had been in May. Early voting ended noon Monday.

There were 4,598 voters who showed up in person to cast their ballot, Bailey said. Another 713 returned a mail-in absentee ballot and 116 voted through the travel board. There were also two email ballots received from overseas or military residents. A total 7,458 ballots were case in the primary, according to county records.

Mail-in ballots are accepted through Tuesday. Bailey said she expects some communities to have a higher turnout Tuesday than others.

“We are expecting heavier numbers in Portage. The election seems to be more contested there,” Bailey said. Portage has a full slate for mayor, city council and clerk-treasurer.

In Lake County, Michelle Fajman, election board director, said 12,518 early votes were cast across the county’s 11 early voting locations compared to 13,483 during the primary. Another 1,383 mail-in ballots have been turned in as of Nov. 4 with two days left for mail-in votes to be received. The total mail-in ballots received in the primary was 2,076.

Still, the numbers so far are greater than they were in 2019 across the 11 voting sites.

“We want to see early voting growing,” Fajman said.

Turn out at the Crown Point early voting location was 1,757 compared to 1,391 in 2019. In East Chicago, 529 people voted early compared to 482 in 2019. 963 people voted early in Gary compared to 574 four years ago; 581 compared to 519 in Hammond; 1,321 compared to 516 in Hobart; 315 compared to 273 in Lowell; 2,624 compared to 1,334 in Munster; 1,978 compared to 1,459 in Schererville; 1,672 compared to 1,006 in Wicker Park; and 300 compared to 218 in Winfield.

Polling places for the municipal elections in Lake and Porter counties are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday.