Ballot Breakdown: Starke County key races
On top of statewide and national elections, voters in Starke County have six local contested races to vote on.
“We’re having a good turnout,” Starke County Clerk Vicki Cooley said. “It’s very steady.”
There is a steady stream of early voters in Starke County.
According to Cooley, 1,752 ballots have already been cast in the county as of Thursday.
Those numbers are on track to tie or surpass 2012’s early vote total in the county of 1,854 votes and 2008’s total of 1,997 early votes.
Cooley said residents are voting this year on six contested county races.
1) County Commissioner – District 1
2) County Commissioner – District 3
3) Three County Council At-Large Seats
4) Three Knox Community School Board Center Twp. seats
5) One Knox Community School Board California-Washington Twp. seat
6) Two Oregon-Davis Community School Board seats
“I would say [voters] are in tune with wanting to make sure their vote’s counted,” Cooley said.
Some early voters said the local races – which are displayed throughout Starke County on dozens of yard signs – are important to them.
“We’re concerned with the commissioners,” early voter Hiram Noble said. “If we could get our fair share and help our school systems, that’d be awesome. We’re very concerned about that.”
But the majority of early voters interviewed Thursday said one race in particular is what brought them out to the polls.
“I’m a little fearful if Trump gets elected,” early voter Diana Rice said.
When asked if there are any county races he’s been watching closely, early voter Gregg Underwood said: “No, I can’t say I have. I do watch the local, but I’m mainly concerned with the presidential and the larger races.”
There are about 18,000 registered voters in Starke County, according to Cooley.
Early voting continues at the Starke County Courthouse on Friday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Monday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Early voting is closed from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. each day for lunch.
Early voters in Starke County had a lot to say about the race for president.
"Everybody's talking about it," Underwood said. "Everybody's definitely engaged, yes."
"I just feel Donald Trump is, to me, a racist," Noble said.
"I think the national elections are getting the most attention," Rice said.