Indiana News

Indiana governor candidates discuss Black issues in forum as record numbers vote early

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — With Election Day three weeks away, many counties are seeing record turnout of voters in early voting.

The early voting record has been shattered in Johnson County with 4,692 people voting early during the first week of voting. That’s more than doubling the previous record set in 2016 where roughly 2,000 people voted early in the first week according to Clerk Trena McLaughlin.

Hamilton County has seen an even bigger jump with Clerk Kathy Williams telling News 8 that 12,037 voters have cast a ballot in the first week, almost four times the 3,342 votes during the same time period of 2016. That doesn’t include the 22,450 absentee ballots which have been returned.

Marion County has also seen a record with 9,935 voters in the first week of 2020 voting. In 2016 there were 6,397 voters in the first seven days.

Two of the candidates for governor were interviewed individually in a virtual forum Monday night sponsored by a variety of groups including Delta Sigma Theta, the Indiana State Conference of the the NAACP and the African American Coalition of Indianapolis.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dr. Woody Myers were each asked about systemic racism in law enforcement.

Myers said he believes that culture does exist in some places. He talked about criminal justice reform he would make if elected including putting money toward body cams and dash cams, requiring all law enforcement to go through implicit bias training and decriminalizing marijuana possession.

“The good news is that’s a small minority of the officers that are trying to protect us and provide for public safety. But it is a significant group that has wrecked significant havoc on our society and in Indiana we’re not immune from that at all,” Myers said.

Holcomb said he’s working to fund more body cams, working to bring in a third party reviewer at the training academy and plans to create a Chief Equity, Inclusion and Opportunity Officer in his cabinet to remove barriers statewide.

“I’m trying to lead by example again. This is something again that I’m pretty personally passionate about. I want to make sure that the state of Indiana leads by example. I’m very proud of our law enforcement officials at the state level and all that they’ve been able to do over the years,” Holcomb said.

Each man also were asked about education funding and housing, both topics which can disproportionately affect Black and Latino voters.

The Libertarian Party nominee, Donald Rainwater, was not a part of the event.