Staff file photo by John J. Watkins
Staff file photo by John J. Watkins
The first week of early voting in Indiana saw more than 144,000 Hoosiers, or 3% of all registered voters, cast their ballots for this year's general election, according to data released Tuesday by the secretary of state's office.

That number likely would have been even higher if polling places in most counties weren't closed Monday for the Columbus Day holiday.

Nevertheless, election officials in Lake and Porter counties said a record number of their residents already have fulfilled their civic duty to select the candidates they believe are best suited to lead at the federal, state and local level.

In Lake County, a total of 15,607 residents cast ballots last week at one of the county's 11 early voting sites, an average of 3,121 people per day during each of the first five days of early voting.

That five-day total also is approximately 7.5% of Lake County's turnout in the 2016 general election, according to data provided by the Lake County Board of Elections and Voter Registration.

Porter County tallied 6,075 voters in the first week its five early polling places were open.

That's equal to 7.7% of the county's 2016 turnout, according to Porter County election records.

Election officials in both counties also have been keeping busy sending mail-in absentee ballots to eligible voters who request one.

According to the secretary of state, Lake County received 32,143 absentee ballot applications through Monday, while Porter County residents have requested 12,901 absentee ballots.

Statewide, a whopping 500,814 requests for mail-in absentee ballots have been received by election officials in Indiana's 92 counties, meaning more than 10% of registered Hoosier voters are planning to cast their ballot this year by mail.
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