Election Season Officially Underway: Early Voting Launches in Allen County

By Jeff Neumeyer

October 10, 2011 Updated Oct 10, 2011 at 5:17 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- One of the two main candidates running for mayor has already cast her vote in the November 8th city election.

Republican challenger Paula Hughes made her choices at the beginning of the early voting period.

Traditionally, we think of voting being reserved strictly for one day, but increasingly we are embracing the fact that Election Day is simply the last day when you can cast your vote.

Because of renovations in the City-County Building, the county election board is temporarily set up in the highway building at Superior and Calhoun Streets.

That's where early voting kicked off on Columbus Day.

The numbers were way up compared to the first day of early voting in the 2007 city elections.

Paula Hughes cast her vote around 11 a.m.

Her campaign is pushing absentee voting among her supporters.

She's a little concerned about the early voting option, wondering if people realize the election board has re-located.

Paula Hughes/(R) Ft. Wayne Mayoral Nominee: " We are working very hard to make sure that people know all of their options to vote. Absentee voting, early voting and, of course, on Election Day November 8th. We want to make sure that if they're even remotely interested in supporting our campaign, they have an opportunity to do so."

Lee Green/Early Voter: " Oh, I think this place is going to be all right, the problem is people just got to know it's here, and it was something that probably was announced, but we just missed it."

Green says he showed up at the City-County Building, but was re-directed to the highway building to cast his vote.

We've reported before, the concept of early satellite voting will not take place this year.

There were plans to open a handful of sites a few days before Election Day, but that’s no longer the case.

Because it appeared there wasn’t going to be enough money to staff satellite voting sites in next year’s Presidential election, officials threw it out for this year's mayoral contest as well.

If you want to do early voting, you've got to do it in the highway building at 1 West Superior Street downtown.

Allen County Director of Elections Beth Dlug reports that absentee voting is significantly up so far in 2011, which tends to be an indicator that turnout in general will be up.

Early voting runs through November 7th.

Besides weekdays, it will also be offered on Saturday, October 29th, and Saturday, November 5th.

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