County voters visit polls with full force

Dave Weatherwax/The Herald
Emily Meyer of Huntingburg, left, Doug Uebelhor of Jasper, Charmian Klem of Bretzville and Carol Berg of Schnellville played euchre to pass the time at the Dubois County Courthouse on Tuesday evening as they waited to turn in votes from the precincts they worked earlier in the day. Poll workers taking election results to the courthouse had a longer wait than normal because of the large number of absentee ballots that had to be counted. For more photos of races and reactions in Dubois County, the state and the nation, click here.


of The Herald Staff

Indiana and Dubois County voters chose Ferdinand native Sue Ellspermann as the next lieutenant governor. She and her Republican running mate, Mike Pence, won their bid to take the state’s two top spots Tuesday.

In addition to this being a gubernatorial election, it also was a presidential election, and Dubois County voters came out in force. A total of 18,973 ballots were cast, representing a turnout of about 63.8 percent of registered voters.

Although more people voted in the 2008 presidential election, the percentage of votes cast was slightly higher this time around. In the last presidential election four years ago, 19,048 Dubois County voters cast a ballot, 63.3 percent of those eligible to do so at that time.

Not only did voters represent on this Election Day, many voted early. Absentee ballots cast at the Dubois County Courthouse, at the satellite voting centers in Ferdinand and Huntingburg, by mail and by travel board totaled 5,986.

Because of the high number of absentee ballots, processing those took longer than in past years.

The electronic ballots from the absentee computers usually are downloaded onto a card and that card is inserted into the main voting computer. But this  time, the card did not have enough space for all the ballots. So each absentee machine had to be connected directly to the main computer. Also, each written, mail-in ballot had to be matched with its voter’s absentee application to confirm its legitimacy before its selections could be entered into the main voting computer. Those ballots had to be scanned in as well.

“We just had so many absentee ballots,” Dubois County Clerk Bridgette Jarboe said. “It’s part of the process.”

The first precinct results were not announced until nearly 9 p.m.

Overall, the day and evening went well, Jarboe said. “For us, it ran relatively smoothly. There were lines at the polls, but we can’t control that.”

Her office did receive a few calls from poll workers on behalf of voters who were trying to figure out at what polls they should be voting.

Madison Precinct 2 and Bainbridge Precinct 7 each received an extra voting machine during the day because of the large rush of voters waiting to cast ballots at those locations, Jarboe said.

Predictably for the county, mostly Democrats won at the local level, but Republicans were the top vote-getters in state races and the presidential race.

In races with competition, the Republicans who won on the local level were incumbent County Treasurer Chad Blessinger and newcomer Nick Hostetter, elected to the county council. Other winners were incumbent Democratic County Commissioner Larry Vollmer, incumbent Democratic county council members Greg Kendall and Martha Wehr, and Democrat Bob Veatch as coroner.

Though he lost nationwide, Republican Mitt Romney won Dubois County in a landslide over Barack Obama in the race for U.S. president with a 62.8 percent majority of the county’s votes. Republican Larry Bucshon topped the battle for U.S. representative in District 8, getting 54.7 percent of the Dubois County’ vote along the way.

The Pence-Ellspermann ticket had the majority of county support for the governor’s race, with 59.6 percent of the vote. Richard Mourdock, a Republican, had 50.6 percent of the local vote as he sought a U.S. Senate seat, but the seat went to Democrat Joe Donnelly.

Just as they won the state races, Democrat Glenda Ritz led opponent incumbent Republican Tony Bennett for superintendent of public instruction in Dubois County and Republican incumbent Greg Zoeller led opponent Democrat Kay Fleming for attorney general.

Republican Lloyd Arnold took the county — and then the district — to represent District 74 in the Indiana General Assembly.

In school board elections, the incumbents came out on top. Nancy Habig, Greg Eckerle and Mike Braun will continue serving Greater Jasper Consolidated Schools, and Cecelia Hamilton, Brian Partenheimer and Matt Eckert will continue serving on the Southeast Dubois School Board. In the Southwest Dubois School Corp., incumbent Kevin Wertman and newcomer Michael Broeker were elected.

As we look at Election Day 2012 in the rearview mirror, here are some other notes of interest:

County Councilwoman Bonnie Luebbehusen was the lone incumbent to lose her bid for another term, and that loss was by a mere 46 votes.

Voting straight-party tickets was the choice of 4,170 voters: 2,370 voted straight-party Republican, 1,794 voted straight-party Democrat and six voted straight-party Libertarian.

The most votes of the day went to Republican County Surveyor Kenny Brosmer, running unopposed for his sixth four-year term. He received 15,047 votes. Garnering the second-most votes was unopposed incumbent Democratic County Commissioner Randy Fleck, with 12,092.

Ellspermann started the day having breakfast with a small group of family, friends and local backers at Old School Café in Huntingburg. She thanked them for their support of her campaign and her two years at District 74 state representative.

“I will do my best to honor God, honor Indiana and honor Dubois County and southwest Indiana,” she said Tuesday morning, before leaving to vote at the Ferdinand Community Center.

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