Starke County voters who did not cast ballots during the absentee period will need to vote in their assigned precincts today.
Turnout has been healthy so far, according to officials with the Starke County Clerk’s Office. Absentee voting wrapped up yesterday at noon, with a total of 1,081 votes cast. Of those, 867 were in person, 160 were mailed in, 33 were cast by traveling board and one came from a military member.
Contested Presidential contests on both the Democrat and Republican tickets are helping to drive turnout, which in turn should benefit state and local candidates. Democrat Sen. Jim Arnold of LaPorte is not seeking another term. Republicans Mike Bohack and Allen Stevens and Democrats Dan Cruz and Maxine Spenner are seeking their party’s nominations for that seat.
Republican Rep. Tom Dermody is also stepping down. Democrat Karen Biernacki and Republican Jim Pressel will face off in the General Election.
Republican Rep. Doug Gutweinof Francesville and Sen. Ed Charbonneau of Valparaiso are both running unopposed, as is Starke Circuit Judge Kim Hall.
District 1 Commissioner Kathy Norem is unopposed in the Republican primary. She will face either Democrat Lonnie Boley or Pete J. (Buddy) Ringle, Jr. in November.
The race for the open Starke County Commissioner District 3 seat, currently held by Kent Danford, is the most competitive. Democrats seeking the nomination include Kenneth Arnett, Anthony R. Bailey, Robert G. Manning, Tony Minix, Karen Tibbs and Joseph Woods. The winner of that primary will run against Republican Charles Chesak in November.
The three Starke County Council-at-Large races will also be decided in November. Incumbent Democrats Freddie G. Baker, Robert A. (Bob) Sims and Republican Bryan Cavender have all filed for reelection. G. “Al” Barrera has also filed as Democrat for a council-at-large seat.
Democratic Party voters will likely choose Starke County’s next surveyor. That’s a two-way contest between Bill Crase, Jr., who is filling Knox Mayor Dennis Estok’s remaining term, and Rusty L. Poort.
Incumbent Treasurer Kasey Clark is unopposed and does not have a General Election opponent.