The Allen County Election Board spent two days last week tallying the 34,173 paper ballots that had been mailed in time for the June 2 primary.
Election officials lifted restrictions on voting by mail in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With all ballots recorded, the percentage of Allen County’s 253,745 registered voters who cast ballots rose to 23.35%. On Election Day, 22,856 voters, 9% of those registered and 39% of the total to cast ballots, went in person to the polls. The county had 2,216 who cast ballots in person during early voting.
By comparison, for the last election, which wasn’t a presidential election year, 80,000 people voted in person, 16,000 voted early and 3,000 voted by mail.
The absentee votes reflected the strong support for a “Yes” response to Fort Wayne Community Schools’ referendum question. The “Yeses” maintained a healthy portion of the final vote, totaling 72.61%, or 22,434 votes, to 27.39%, 22,434 votes, for the “No’s.”
The FWCS Board of School Trustees voted in November 2019 to put the referendum on ballots this year. According to the measure, the work will not exceed $130 million, and will mean an increase in the local property tax rate by a minimum of $0.1486 per $100 of assessed valuation.
One of the projects will involve significant renovations at Wayne High School, including a complete replacement of its heating and air conditioning system. That building currently is not fully air conditioned.
Wayne will also receive lighting improvements throughout the building; security enhancements, including a more secure entrance; and ADA-compliant features.
Blackhawk and Miami middle schools will see similar improvements. The referendum will also allow for the addition of classrooms at Levan Scott Academy and Franke Park Elementary School — both of which are using modular classrooms to reduce overcrowding.
The bond issue associated with this year’s referendum will be the third in a series of school upgrade programs. Similar measures were passed in 2012 and 2016 — the latter of which allowed for extensive upgrades at Northrop High School.
“This building program will probably go on for the next five or so years,” FWCS spokesperson Krista Stockman said, “and most of the companies that we will hire to do this work will be local firms, so that will help local employment.”
Stockman added that the building program isn’t just a way to improve and maintain the appearance of FWCS schools, but also to uphold the integrity and image of the Fort Wayne community.
“It’s really important for the entire community that we maintain our buildings,” Stockman said. “It’s good for the neighborhoods, it’s good for the kids and teachers inside the buildings, and it’s vitally important that these buildings are well maintained.”
Allen County’s traditional Republican base gave a healthy lead to incumbent U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, over challenger Christopher “Chris” Magiera of Warsaw, who received 13.13% of the votes.
On the Democratic side, Allen County voters gave Chip Coldiron of Ossian a close win at 37.84% to 33.74% for Carlos Marcano Jr. of Roanoke. Fort Wayne residents Jean-Paul Kalonji and perennial candidate Tommy Allan Schrader got 15% and 13.42%, respectively.Other results
In the Indiana State District 16 race, Sen. Justin Busch, R-Fort Wayne, who assumed the vacancy left when David Long retired in 2018, held off Republican challenger Tom Rhoades, 68.84% to 31.16%. District 16 covers portions of Allen and Whitley counties. Democrat Juli Dominguez surpassed Tim Barr, 52.33% to 47.67%.
In the State House of Representatives District 50 Republican race, incumbent Dan Leonard took 63.97% of the votes over John A. Stoffel’s 36.03%. On the Democratic side, Jorge Fernandez had no opposition. District 50 covers all of Huntington County along with western Wells County and southwestern Allen County.
Jon Brandenberger won the Republican nomination for Allen County coroner with 21,277 votes. Joel Nagel received 7,868 votes.
Jeff Sorg won the Republican nomination for Allen County surveyor with 17,834 votes. David Devine received 9,970 votes.