Indiana Election 2022: Latest updates on races, ballot issues and other news

By: - November 8, 2022 8:39 am

Hoosiers go to the polls today. (Getty Images)

Happy Election Day, all. The Capital Chronicle’s reporters are working hard to bring you the very latest on the midterm elections. Please keep checking back through the day for updates, and stay with us tonight as results start rolling in.

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4 months ago

Morales pulls out win

Embattled Republican Diego Morales appeared to overcome a slate of controversies and allegations Tuesday to become Indiana’s next Secretary of State. 

Associated Press had not yet called the race but he had a solid lead over Democrat Destiny Wells and he claimed victory.

“The truth always prevails,” he said Tuesday evening at the Indiana Republican Party’s election night event. “Let me say that again — the truth always prevails, always.”

The typically sleepy down-ballot race was in the spotlight this election cycle because, in an era of increasing election skepticism, the secretary oversees elections in Indiana. 

Morales said he’d clamp down on elections to improve security, while Wells campaigned on his bad press to cast herself as the would-be safeguard of Hoosier democracy.

“The American Dream is still alive and well in Indiana. You can be anything if you’re willing to work hard and sacrifice,” Morales said Tuesday. “My commitment to you is that I will work as hard as I have been doing to make you all be proud, and take this office — the legacy of former secretaries of state — to the next level. That is my commitment to all of you.”

He is believed to be the first Hispanic elected statewide in Indiana.

Republican Diego Morales claims victory Tuesday night in the Secretary of State race. (Casey Smith/Indiana Capital Chronicle)

4 months ago

Kyle Walker snags victory following Democrat challenge

By: - 9:20 pm

A highly anticipated race that pitted incumbent Sen. Kyle Walker, a Republican, against Fishers City Council Member Jocelyn Vare, a Democrat, came to a 55-45 win in favor of Walker.

Indiana Sen. Kyle Walker (R-Lawrence). (Courtesy Indiana Senate Republicans.)

Democrats had targeted the seat as a pick-up opportunity but fell short of the votes needed, with Vare getting 16,128 votes to Walker’s 19,848, according to the IndyStar election results tracker.

Walker, in a statement proclaiming his victory, promised to be “laser focused on issues that matter,” including the economy and public safety. 

“I’m grateful to everyone who helped us deliver our message to earn the support of voters across the district,” he said. 

4 months ago

McDermott emotional in concession: “I wasted 14 months of my life.”

Tom McDermott made a whole-hearted concession to Young Tuesday about 8:30 p.m., telling a crowd of Democrats to give the Republican a “big round of applause.”

“I want everybody to know I called Sen. Todd Young about five minutes ago, and I wished Todd Young well in the next six years of leading the state of Indiana as U.S. senator,” McDermott said. “And I mean it with all my heart — the better he does, the better our state does. So I want to congratulate Todd Young for beating me tonight.”

McDermott thanked a detailed list of family members, staffers, friends and supporters, and he shouted out former U.S. Sen. Joe Donelly, who represents the last time Democrats won a statewide election in 2012.

“I talked to Joe Donnelly before I got started on this track, and Joe Donnelly told me, ‘What’s the worst thing that can happen, mayor? You’re going to meet a lot of great people, and you’re going to see a beautiful state,’” McDermott said. “He was dead right.”

But after stepping on the stage and hugging his way through a small line of well-wishers, an emotional McDermott openly contemplated dropping out of politics.

McDermott previously told the Capital Chronicle he filed to run out of “protest,” saying, “Young doesn’t deserve an easy victory.” Asked if he had regrets after his loss, he nodded a yes, then added, “You’re talking to me right after I lost. So yeah, I regret it. I wasted 14 months of my life.”

“I gave everything I had and it wasn’t really that close,” McDermott said. “So it makes me think that this isn’t my line of work. And so, honestly, I’m probably done in politics.”

Democrat Tom McDermott gives a concession speech Tuesday night to supporters. (Leslie Bonilla Muñiz/Indiana Capital Chronicle)

Last updated: 9:31 PM

4 months ago

U.S. Sen. Todd Young defeats Democrat challenger

By: - 8:38 pm

Republican U.S. Sen. Todd Young claimed victory against Democratic challenger Thomas McDermott Tuesday evening, calling it “a great night for the Republican Party.”

The Associated Press called the race for Young at 8:26 p.m. Preliminary and unofficial poll results show the incumbent senator defeating McDermott with 59% of votes, with 29% of precincts reporting.

“We fought hard, we fought hard all the way, because we have never doubted. We have never wavered in our belief that in a free nation, with free people, anything is possible,” Young said minutes after the race was called. He celebrated the victory at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis, along with other members of the Indiana Republican Party. 

“I’m carrying this message to the 92 different counties around Indiana in the coming months and years, but I simply say to them, thank you — thank you for the privilege of representing you.”

The Indiana Senate race comes as Republicans fight to regain control of the 50-50 U.S. Senate.

Young focused much of his campaign on economic issues, pointing to inflation and high gasoline prices which he attributes to President Joe Biden and the Democratic-controlled Congress. McDermott meanwhile focused on abortion rights. 

U.S. Sen. Todd Young addresses Republicans at a Tuesday night watch party. (Casey Smith/Indiana Capital Chronicle)

4 months ago

Incumbent Democrat Rep. Terri Austin defeated, unofficial results show

By: - 7:54 pm

With all precincts reporting in Madison County, incumbent Democrat Rep. Terri Austin lost her House District 36 seat to Republican challenger Kyle Pierce in a nail-biter election. 

According to unofficial Madison County results, Pierce has 50.95% of the vote, 8,888 total votes, to Austin’s 49.05%, or 8,555 total votes. Austin would need 333 votes to overcome that difference in a recount.

Austin is one of the key House races targeted by Republicans this election cycle, along with several others scattered around the state. Democrats mainly focused their efforts on seats in the doughnut counties surrounding Indianapolis.

Last updated: 8:18 PM

4 months ago

Carson to Democrats: don’t give up

U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, a Democrat representing much of Indianapolis, took the stage at a Democrat watch party Tuesday evening to raucous cheers. Supporters wearing black Carson hoodies and bearing red campaign signs thronged around him.

Carson thanked campaign workers and the party’s boots on the ground for their efforts.

“Elections, they don’t happen on social media … Movements are not created behind computer screens,” he said. “They’re not just created when we’re sitting at home, watching the news, hoping things will get better. They’re created when we do the work, and you all have done the work today.”

In a state that Republicans overwhelmingly run, both in local offices and at the state level, Carson sought to shore up morale.

“Our party represents the true values of the American people. Our party represents Hoosier values,” he said. “So let’s dust ourselves off and keep rebuilding. … And so what I have to say is: don’t give up, Democrats. Stay focused, move forward. We love you, and we’ve got this.”

U.S. Rep. Andre Carson speaks to Democrats Tuesday night. (Leslie Bonilla Muñiz/Indiana Capital Chronicle)

4 months ago

Watch parties kick off

By: - 7:07 pm

Republicans are gathering tonight at the JW Marriott while Democrats are nearby at Nevermore, an Indianapolis bar.

No major candidates in the rooms yet though GOP leadership from the House and Senate have arrived. There are two small bars available at the Republican gathering and a small selection of meats, cheeses and other finger foods.

Indiana GOP gathering (Casey Smith/Indiana Capital Chronicle)

Democrat watch party (Leslie Bonilla Muñiz/Indiana Capital Chronicle)

A light hum of conversation thrummed over pop music at the Indiana Democratic Party’s election watch party. About 70 people sat around Nevermore Union Station’s large wooden tables, busily typing away laptops or phones, or chatting in small groups.

Last updated: 7:08 PM

4 months ago

How Indiana settles ties

By: - 6:44 pm

Waiting for results, and started to wonder how Indiana would handle ties in an election.

Flip a coin? Run a race?

Turns out if the contest is still tied after a recount, here is what state law says.

“In a general election, a tie vote occurring in a federal, state (other than governor and lieutenant governor), or legislative office requires a special election to break the tie. (IC 3-12-9-1) A tie vote for the office of governor and lieutenant governor is resolved at a joint session of the State Senate and House of Representatives. (IC 3-12-9-2).”

As for local races:

“Whenever a circuit court clerk receives certification that a tie vote at an election for a local office or school board office has occurred, the clerk shall immediately send written notice of the tie vote to the fiscal body of the affected political subdivision. (IC 3-12-9-3) A fiscal body notified by the circuit court clerk of a tie vote resolves the tie by electing a person to fill the office no later than December 31 following the election at which the vote occurred. If a tie vote occurred for the election for more than one at-large seat on a legislative or fiscal body, the fiscal body shall elect the number of individuals necessary to fill each of the at-large seats for which the tie vote occurred. If one of the candidates involved in the tie vote is also an incumbent officeholder, the candidate may not cast a vote.”

4 months ago

By: - 6:02 pm

Lafayette reporters note there is a line as polls close. But everyone can still vote if you are there already.

(Twitter screenshot)

4 months ago

A number of candidates without opponents this Election Day

By: - 5:41 pm

While all eyes will be on the nail-biter elections, it’s worth noting that some races in the Indiana House and State Senate are essentially over since the candidates don’t face any opposition. 

In the House, 43 districts have just one name on the ballot, 13 with just a Democrat and 30 with a Republican. 

Libertarians have nine candidates running in House elections this year. Without those candidates, another three Republican candidates and one Democrat would have no opposition in their races.

All 100 House seats are up for election this year.

The Senate side is much more competitive, with just 8 seats fielding just one candidate, all Republicans. Every incumbent Democratic senator, of which there are three, has a Republican challenger. And Indiana Republicans seem confident they have a shot at all three. 

4 months ago

Midterm voting mostly problem-free in battleground states, voting advocates report

By: - 5:03 pm

As of Tuesday afternoon, voting across the country has largely gone smoothly without any major issues or incidents of voter intimidation, voting rights advocates said.

In counties that did experience problems, which were typical of any Election Day, the incidents were largely attributed to faulty technology and human error.

In Maricopa County, Arizona, one of the nation’s largest voting jurisdictions in a critical battleground state, election workers Tuesday morning reported issues with ballot tabulators at about 20 percent of vote centers. Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates said at a news conference that the affected machines were rejecting about one ballot out of every five ballots inserted, according to Votebeat.

Officials did not initially know what was causing the issue, but technicians were dispatched to fix it.  Around 2 p.m. Mountain time, Maricopa County reported that technicians changed the tabulator printer settings to produce darker markings, which resolved this issue at a number of locations.

Gates stressed that the issue was not a sign of fraud and that nobody was being disenfranchised.

Nonetheless, misinformation proliferated about the tabulator issues online. Blake Masters, GOP candidate for U.S. Senate, hinted at potential fraud on Twitter. “Hard to know if we’re seeing incompetence or something worse,” he wrote. “All we know right now is that the Democrats are hoping you will get discouraged and go home.”

Kelli Ward, the chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party and a fake elector, wrote on Twitter that the county is “forcing poll workers to coerce voters to put their ballot in a box rather than getting it tabulated on site. Or they’re fired!”

In reality, officials reiterated that voters have a number of options when they encounter a malfunctioning tabulator, including going to another one of the 223 county vote centers or waiting for the functionality to be restored.

4 months ago

Marion County voting higher than primary

Abortion and democracy were top of mind for most voters at the City-County Building in downtown Indianapolis, along with some concerns about crime.

Megan, 29, said she considered herself an independent but voted using abortion rights as her measuring stick.

“I did egg donation for a couple of years and I know the varying reasons of abortions, and I’ve had a lot of really close friends who’ve had miscarriages,” she said. “… That was the particular issue [where] I was like, ‘I have to put my voice out there.’”

Carla Peña, 20, said she supported codification of abortion rights into federal law, and to that end, had voted for Republican Sen. Todd Young’s Democratic challenger, Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott.

Married couple Marsha and Bill — who didn’t want to give their last name — said they were excited to vote for Democrats U.S. Rep. André Carson and Andrea Hunley, a candidate for Indiana State Senate District 46. But, Marsha said, all issues go back to the foundations of American life: democracy.

“The main issue was preserving democracy,” she said. “The economy, everything else, will come tomorrow.”

Poll workers, meanwhile, were celebrating turnout. After tallying up just under 500 voters during primary election day in May, the City-County Building’s 700th voter walked out about 2 p.m., with hours left until the polls closed.

Voters check in at the City-County Building in Indianapolis. (Leslie Bonilla Muñiz/Indiana Capital Chronicle)

Last updated: 4:10 PM

4 months ago

High hopes riding on Secretary of State’s race

Democrats see a rare opportunity in the race for secretary of state to win a statewide office — but they’re not the only ones with high hopes for it. It’s also Indiana’s ballot-access race, and could open the door to primaries for Libertarian voters. 

Libertarian Jeff Maurer would need to garner 10% of more of the votes cast for Secretary of State. He previously told the Capital Chronicle that his goal was to win office outright, but that getting Libertarian candidates on primary election ballots “would be transformative.”

A Libertarian has earned more than 10% of the vote for a statewide race recently – Donald Rainwater won 11.4% in 2020’s race for governor – but that doesn’t count for ballot access.

Currently Libertarians select their nominees in conventions.

If Maurer hits the mark in individual counties it also could mean a seat on the local election board.

Related: A Libertarian and Green Party lawsuit challenging Indiana’s ballot access law moved forward last week.

4 months ago

Voters have their say

By: - 2:05 pm

Hundreds of voters — more than expected, in fact — have already descended on the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site in Indianapolis as of early Tuesday afternoon.

Just before 1:30 p.m., the 500th voter of the day cast a ballot at the home of the 23rd U.S. president, which also serves as a voting center for Marion County residents.

Election inspector Harrison Page said the voting location typically only sees 400-500 voters over the course of an Election Day. 

“We’ve got way more than that already, and we’ve still got a lot to go,” he said. “But we’re ready for it.”

Katey Scott stopped by during her lunch break to vote a straight-Democrat ballot, emphasizing that she hopes to see Indiana secretary of race produce the party’s first statewide election win since 2012.

“I think that race is our best shot,” she told the Indiana Capital Chronicle. “If Indiana gets stuck with Diego Morales, it will really be a sad day for me … and others.”

The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site was all decked out Tuesday for voting. (Casey Smith/Indiana Capital Chronicle)

Longtime Indianapolis resident Chuck Foxworthy, a retiree, said he was most concerned about voting out Marion County’s incumbent prosecutor, Ryan Mears, a Democrat. 

“We have so much crime in this city and so little accountability,” Foxworthy said, explaining his vote for Mears’ Republican competitor, Cyndi Carrasco. “(Mears) has got to go. We need something — and someone — different so we can address all these murders and repeat offenders who get to commit crimes over and over again.”

Last updated: 2:05 PM

4 months ago

Waiting for closing time

By: - 12:25 pm

A few more hours of voting left for most of Indiana, which as you can see is tied for earliest closing times in the nation.

(Graphic from Daily Kos.)

Last updated: 12:26 PM

4 months ago

What’s at stake

By: - 11:10 am

Midterm elections never drive turnout like presidential elections — but many of the institutions that most shape Hoosiers’ lives lie further down the ballot, no matter the year.

Washington, D.C. makes much of the biggest headlines, and for that, we’re watching two main races:

  • For U.S. Senate, Republican incumbent Todd Young faces Democrat challenger Tom McDermott. Young is likely to win the “safe Republican” seat, but partisan polling has shown a more competitive race than expected.
  • And for Indiana’s First Congressional District for U.S. House, Democrat incumbent Frank Mrvan faces Republican challenger Jennifer-Ruth Green. Voters in this traditionally Democrat stronghold haven’t approved a Republican representative since a 1928 election. But fundraising efforts of both parties reflect this race’s new competitiveness.

Closer to home, the Secretary of State race garners attention as the chief administrator of elections.

Embattled Republican candidate Diego Morales has weathered several controversies, from harassment allegations to twice leaving the very office he hopes to hold. And just last week voter fraud allegations popped up.

He faces Democrat Destiny Scott Wells. But Democrats haven’t won a statewide office since 2012, when Glenda Ritz beat out Tony Bennett to become the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Joe Donnelly also won in the U.S. Senate race that year. But both he and Ritz were ousted the next time around. 

Lastly, we don’t expect any major changes in the state legislative chambers but are closely watching the race between incumbent Sen. Kyle Walker and challenger Jocelyn Vare. Walker, a moderate Republican, could lose the seat, which straddles Marion and Hamilton Counties.

4 months ago

Boone County voting smooth

By: - 10:15 am

No problems so far in Boone County, where one little girl got to run around an open gymnasium, found a dime and got a sticker!

Voters going to the polls in Boone County. (Niki Kelly/Indiana Capital Chronicle)

Last updated: 10:16 AM

4 months ago

Taking a look at past turnout

By: - 8:37 am

Indiana usually trails other states in Election Day participation, so we took a look at recent turnout statistics as Hoosiers cast their ballots today. 

In 2018 — the last midterm election — 51% of registered voters cast ballots, or around 2.3 million people. Of those, 68% voted in person on election day.

The remaining 32% chose absentee, which includes mailing in a ballot or casting a vote early in-person. That equaled about 748,000 votes. 

In comparison, the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office said Monday afternoon that about 684,692 Hoosiers voted absentee this year. That is about 14% of registered voters. 

The numbers in 2020 were much higher because it was a presidential election — 65% of registered voters cast ballots, or around 3 million Hoosiers. Of that, 61% voted absentee, including mail-in ballot or early in-person voting. That year was also impacted by COVID-19 fears. 

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Staff Reports
Staff Reports

Indiana Capital Chronicle staff - Casey Smith, Niki Kelly, Whitney Downard, Leslie Bonilla Muñiz