Hamilton County voters should expect changes in nearly every riding in the May 3 primary election. Indiana is required by state and federal law to redraw General Assembly and Congressional maps after the national census every 10 years.
Hamilton County Elections Administrator Beth Sheller said polls had changed for 42 of 217 precincts.
“It’s going to be a really big thing for people to watch,” Sheller said. “Half of them are in Delaware and Fall Creek townships.”
Many of the changes to the site are a result of organizations no longer wanting to serve as survey sites. “They’re all for various reasons,” Sheller said. “We had a closed church and some of them are getting day care and don’t want to (serve as a polling station).”
Hamilton County has added 10 new polling places and some precincts have new names, affecting the entire Township of Clay.
“If you’re in the Carmel compound, your name has changed,” Sheller said. “Instead of neighborhood names, they’re strictly Clay01 through Clay71 now. Everyone will need to be mindful of their neighborhood name now. Same thing happened to everyone in Jackson Township, so instead of South Cicero and North Arcadia, these are Jackson01 to Jackson 08.
Sheller said parts of Westfield have also changed.
New maps showing the changes can be found at hamiltoncounty.in.gov under the “Electoral office” tab and the “Constituency and district plans” tab. Printed copies of the maps are also available at the Elections Office for $3.
Sheller said if a resident’s neighborhood has changed, they will receive a yellow card with the new name and new polling place. She said the cards will likely arrive in April.
Despite the constituency changes, the early voting locations remain the same. The Hamilton County Courthouse and the Hamilton County Fairgrounds, both in Noblesville, will open for early voting on April 5. Satellite locations also remain the same, such as each municipality’s town hall, and open on April 20. May 3 is the only day voters can go to their polling station if they haven’t voted in an advance poll elsewhere.
In addition to constituency changes, Sheller said some districts have also changed.
“There have been some changes in (Indiana’s) House and Senate districts, some county council districts, and some school board districts,” Sheller said.
By law, each constituency must have at least 600 eligible voters and no more than 2,000, although there are some exceptions to the rule. A district cannot cross a congressional or state legislative district line.
“I know it will be difficult for some people with the name changes, but it will get where it’s a lot easier because when they’re numbered like that, it’s easier for our office as far as accounting goes. “, Sheller said. “It’s also easier for people who have no idea where (a certain) neighborhood is.”
Sheller said the elections office is already accepting mail-in ballot applications. Voters can register for a postal vote at indianavoters.com.