Website designed to track wait times at Marion County polls

Politics

MARION COUNTY, Ind. — With just over a week until Election Day, Hoosiers are showing up at the polls in record numbers.

A new website is tracking the wait times at polling sites in Marion County.

“If I can do something to make voting easier, I want to do that,” said Ben Kinney with Vote Safe Indiana.

Kinney is part of a team that designed a website called indyvotetimes.org. It tracks the waiting times at all six polling sites in Marion County. Developers started working on the site a couple months ago.

“I think like a lot of voters, we had concerns about how COVID would impact the election this year, and we thought there may be very long wait times at polling stations, and it looks like that hunch was correct,” said Kinney.

There’s a method to how the team gets their waiting times, and it starts with volunteers on the ground at polling sites.

“What we’re doing is we are counting how many people are in line, and then how many people are exiting the polling station, and we run that through an equation and get an estimated wait time, so that’s actually real time,” explained Kinney.

This past weekend, wait times were unbelievably long. Some voters spent eight hours in line to cast their ballot. Kinney was the one posting those long wait times to the website, and he admits he was even second guessing the reports.

“I went back to our volunteers and was like, ‘Guys, before I put this up there, are you sure this is correct?’ And they were like, ‘Yep, the line is huge! It’s crazy!’ So we posted the times,” said Kinney.

The wait times are meant to be an estimate used to help you make a plan to vote.

“Every once in a while, we will have a time that’s maybe 30-40 minutes off. We feel like if we can still say you’re going to wait two hours and you end up waiting 2.5 hours, we feel like we still did a pretty good job of preparing you for what you’re going to wait for,” said Kinney.

Indyvotetimes.org launched on Friday, and developers tell FOX59 that so far, more than 35,000 people have used the site.

“For me personally, I did this out of a passion to get as many people voting as possible. I think our country is at the better for it when more people vote,” said Kinney.

The time tracking website is only for Marion County, but the plan is to expand it for future elections.

Vote Safe Indiana still needs volunteers for early voting and for Election Day. Click here if you’re interested in learning more.

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