What a difference four years can make.
A week before the primary in 2008, nearly 127,000 people had already cast ballots in Indiana, shattering the state’s previous record for a primary election.
That’s compared to roughly 78,000 this year, a drop of about 40 percent.
Of course, four years ago, Indiana was smack dab in the middle of a Democratic presidential primary involving Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The two candidates were criss-crossing the state, and Hoosiers were excited about having a voice in the selection of a presidential nominee.
We were close to having that happen again this year. Technically, the race for the Republican nomination is still going on. Observers say Mitt Romney won’t have enough delegates to secure the nomination until early June.
The race basically ended last month, though, when Rick Santorum announced he was suspending his campaign. Newt Gingrich is set to formally end his campaign today, and Santorum likely won’t be far behind.
Republicans do have a U.S. Senate contest between incumbent Richard Lugar and State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, and that’s reflected in the turnout with about 60 percent of early voters casting Republican ballots.
The GOP also has a hotly contested commissioner’s race featuring two County Council members and the former chair of the county fire district. The part also has four candidates competing for three nominations for the County Council.
And voters in parts of the county will have a chance to choose a Republican candidate for state representative.
Democrats, on the other hand, have a contest for the 4th District congressional nomination and for delegate to the state convention. Early voting at the Cass County Government Building started last week, and vote centers open Thursday at locations across the county.
Helping to select each party’s candidates is an important part of the democratic process. Voters would do well to research their choices and take the time to cast a ballot.