Sunday, November 11, 2018 1:00 am
County weighs relenting on 'I Voted' stickers
BRIAN FRANCISCO and NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette
Allen County's Election Day nightmare continues.
It has nothing to do with poll workers or computer servers or vote-counting – the administration of the election was efficient and without snafu.
But none of the 90,000 residents who cast ballots Tuesday received an “I Voted” sticker.
Everywhere around the state, Hoosiers posted pictures of themselves and loved ones sporting their stickers and taking pride in voting.
Not in Allen County.
“That's the No. 1 question I get,” Allen County Elections Director Beth Dlug admitted. “Everyone wants a sticker. I'm starting to relent.”
She said the stickers are an extra expense and in the past just couldn't fit it in the budget. But the county does give out “I Voted Early” stickers – leading to a new divide.
“I promise I will try,” Dlug said. “I will check costs.”
To help out, we found stickers on ebay and at instocklabels.com for under $10 for 500. Buying 100,000 would cost around $2,000.
President Donald Trump's campaign rally drew as many as 18,000 people to the Memorial Coliseum grounds Monday evening, the building's general manager said.
“It's the largest convocation crowd in the 66-year history of the building,” Randy Brown said Thursday in a telephone interview.
Trump came to Fort Wayne to campaign for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike Braun, who a day later defeated Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in Indiana's general election.
Brown said 14,306 were inside the Coliseum, including at least 11,647 in the arena, where Trump spoke, with the rest gathered in overflow areas in the conference center, which provided video feeds. He guessed that a few thousand more were in the parking lot watching the rally on a large video screen.
Brown said Trump's campaign team and his Secret Service detail “were very pleased” with the Coliseum and its staff. In an earlier email, Brown had written that the rally “came off without a hitch” and that organizers “told us that if they could they would pick us up and move the Coliseum to all future event locations because we anticipated their needs and delivered what we promised.”
Brown, operations vice president Bryan Christie and plant facilities manager Rich Thoma were called to meet Trump.
Brown said the president wanted to know how the crowd size compared with the huge audience he drew to the Coliseum as a candidate in 2016.
“I was prepared. 'Well, sir, you're going to be happy. You sold this space out, you filled that space, you've got a lot of people outside.' I got a thumbs up on that from him,” Brown said.
Trump told his arena audience: “You wanna see something special? Take a look outside at the thousands and thousands of people that wanted to get inside. You got lucky.” The indoor audience cheered.
The Allen County Republican Party will have caucuses on Nov. 28 to fill unexpired terms of two seats on the County Council.
Party Chairman Steve Shine said Wednesday that precinct officials will meet at 6 p.m. at Grand Wayne Center in downtown Fort Wayne to select successors for at-large Councilmen Justin Busch and Eric Tippmann.
A Republican caucus chose Busch in October to fill the unexpired term of retiring state Sen. David Long, R-Fort Wayne. Tippmann won election Tuesday to become the Perry Township trustee.
People have until 6 p.m. Nov. 25 to declare their County Council candidacies to the party. Candidates can file in one or both caucuses.
Shine said seven people already are in the running: David Barrett; Brian Bohnky, owner of Budget Blinds of Fort Wayne; former county sheriff Ken Fries; Lindsay Hannah, development director for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Fort Wayne; Kyle Kerley, chairman of Fort Wayne's Legacy Joint Funding Committee; Southwest Allen County Schools board member Bradley Mills; and Adam Welch, economic development professional for Greater Fort Wayne Inc.
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