Southern Indiana voters turn out with local issues, big picture on minds

Southern Indiana voters turn out with local issues, big picture on minds

CLARK COUNTY, Ind. (WAVE) - From small community issues to the big picture, a lot was driving some Hoosiers to vote Tuesday, and they were doing it in the middle of a pandemic.

Voters were asked to cast their ballots absentee if they could, but when polls were set to close, many were still in line. That’s what WAVE 3 News observed at 6 p.m. outside of New Albany High School. A long line there was made slightly longer because of social distancing.

“Spacing seems relatively OK,” voter Claire Gapsis said. “So, I’m happy with the way it’s turning out.”

Some voters were not deterred by the virus that has spread across the country, so far killing more than 100,000 Americans.

“Well, when I got here today, it was wrapped around the corner,” voter Marlo Brown said. “I wasn’t getting out of line. I was going to vote.”

In Southern Indiana, two big educational questions were on ballots across the region. A decision in Clark County of whether to split West Clark Community Schools into two districts passed with 75 percent of the vote.

Starting in July, Silver Creek and Borden-Henryville will each be its own district, allowed to use its own tax dollars.

In Floyd County, a referendum on whether to increase taxes to provide additional school safety measures at the New Albany Floyd County School Corporation failed by a closer margin.

But when asked the simple question -- why did you come out to vote? -- the answer was a little more complex. It was not just the coronavirus masks displaying that voters are living in a different world now, but also the words coming from beneath them.

“Especially with what’s going on right now, with all the riots and protesting, just that people of minority to be able to have a voice,” Gapsis said of why she voted. “So, I’m voting for people who have those topics in mind.”

Brown said she doesn't support violent protests, but understands the pain many demonstrating across the country are feeling.

“I understand the frustration,” Brown said. “Being an African American woman, with everything going on, I sit at home watching TV. One incident I even cried when I saw the young kids in Atlanta get snatched out of the car. So, everybody needs to go out and vote. This is when you call up for leaders.”

A little more than half a million voters requested mail-in ballots. That’s more than 10 times the number cast during the 2016 primary.

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