Hamilton County voters should expect changes to nearly every precinct in the May 3 primary election. Indiana is required by state and federal law to redraw General Assembly and congressional maps following the nationwide census every 10 years.
Hamilton County Elections Administrator Beth Sheller said poll sites have changed for 42 of 217 precincts.
“That’s going to be a really big thing for people to watch out for,” Sheller said. “Half of those are in Delaware and Fall Creek townships.”
Many of the site changes are the result of organizations no longer wanting to serve as poll sites. “They’re all for various reasons,” Sheller said. “We had a church close and some of them get day cares and then don’t want to (serve as a poll site).”
Hamilton County has added 10 new poll sites, and some precincts have new names, which effects all of Clay Township.
“If you’re in the Carmel precinct, your name has changed,” Sheller said. “Instead of neighborhood names, they are strictly Clay01 to Clay71 now. Everyone is going to have to be alert to what their precinct name is now. The same thing happened to everybody in Jackson Township, so instead of South Cicero and North Arcadia, those are Jackson01 to Jackson 08.”
Sheller said some precincts in Westfield have changed, too.
New maps showing the changes can be found at hamiltoncounty.in.gov under the “Election Office” tab and the “Precinct and District Maps” tab. Printed copies of the maps are also available in the Elections Office for $3.
Sheller said if a resident’s precinct has changed, they will be mailed a yellow card with the new name and polling site. She said the cards will likely arrive in April.
Despite the precinct changes, early voting locations remain the same. The Hamilton County Courthouse and the Hamilton County Fairgrounds, both in Noblesville, will open for early voting April 5. Satellite locations also remain the same, such as each municipality’s city hall, and open April 20. May 3 is the only day voters can go to their polling site if they haven’t completed early voting elsewhere.
Besides precinct changes, Sheller said some districts have changed as well.
“There were some changes to the (Indiana) House and Senate districts, some county council districts, and some school board districts,” Sheller said.
By law, each precinct must have at least 600 eligible voters and no more than 2,000, although there are a few exceptions to the rule. A precinct can’t cross a congressional or state legislative district line.
“I know it’ll be difficult for some people with the name changes, but it will get to where it is much easier because when they’re numbered like that, it’s easier for our office as far as bookkeeping,” Sheller said. “It’s also easier for people who don’t have any idea where (a certain) neighborhood is.”
Sheller said the elections office is already accepting applications for absentee ballots. Voters can register for an absentee ballot at indianavoters.com.