Some Lawrence Township races too close to call
Democrats appeared ready to take Lawrence Township’s Assessor and Trustee offices, but the races are too close to call as election workers continued to count ballots this morning.
By Ryan Heath
November 9, 2006
LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP — Democrats appeared ready to take Lawrence Township’s Assessor and Trustee offices, but the races are too close to call as election workers continued to count ballots this morning.
With 115 of 118 precincts reporting, Democratic challenger Jeff Hill led 10-year incumbent Republican Paul Ricketts by 272 votes for the assessor’s office.
Democrat Mike Hobbs led the race for township trustee over his Republican opponent Dino Batalis. The 24-year-old U.S. Marine led the 48-year-old firefighter by a margin of 499 votes.
Republican Brian Bulger appeared to have Democrat Byron Grandy beat by 1,478 votes for township constable.
The closest township race was small claims court judge. Republican James Joven led Democrat Stan Hirsh by 28 votes.
Marion County Clerk Doris Anne Sadler said recounts were possible in the race for Lawrence Township assessor, according to a report in the Indianapolis Star. Calls to the clerk’s office this morning were not immediately returned.
As Lawrence Township voter Sandy Vanorshoven made her way out of the polling site at East 91st Street Christian Church Tuesday evening, she said national issues inspired her to vote in the midterm election.
Vanorshoven, who’s lived in the township for about 23 years, wasn’t familiar with the more local township races.
“It was really more national than local,” she said. “I sometimes miss midterm elections, but I felt it was important for me to come out today.”
Lawrence Township voters Dave and Marshia Mingee voted for a different reason.
“We have a civic responsibility,” Marshia Mingee said.
The couple said local issues didn’t play as big an influence on their vote as national issues such as health care, women’s rights and the war in Iraq.
Poll workers at the East 91st Street Christian Church site, where four township precincts voted, said about 23 percent of registered voters had visited the polls by noon Tuesday.
At Berkshire of Castleton, a retirement community and voting place for two township precincts, poll workers had a different story to tell.
Poll inspector Jeff Vest, a ninth-grade social studies teacher at Lawrence North High School, said his precincts are lucky to see a 20 percent turnout for a midterm election. Vest has worked the polling site for 22 years,
At 5 p.m. Tuesday, Vest reported a 14 percent turnout. He attributed the low interest to a transient, apartment-dwelling constituency and the aging population in the retirement village. The precinct has about 1,300 registered voters.
“I don’t care if Christ was on the ballot, we never get over 15 percent,” Vest said.
Vest, 44, said he experienced a few problems setting up the electronic machine that counted the paper ballots, and he had to turn away three or four senior citizens because they didn’t have proper identification.
Vest also complained about inadequate training Indiana poll workers receive. He appreciated the help he received from local high school students, he said, but they didn’t have the proper knowledge to perform the job.
“It’s difficult to vote in Indiana and it’s difficult to be a poll worker in Indiana,” he said.
Call staff writer Ryan Heath at (317) 444-5575.