Time left to vote in the 2024 Indiana Primary

A voter enters a polling place at Scott Hall located at the Johnson County Fairgrounds in 2022. Johnson County is one of 59 vote center counties, meaning citizens can cast their vote at any polling location in the county. (Photo/Isaac Gleitz at TheStatehouseFile.com)

By John Asplund


April 3, 2024

Voters from around the state of Indiana have been preparing for the fast-approaching deadline for the May 7 primary. Voters must be registered by 11:59 p.m. April 8.

Julia Vaughn, executive director for Common Cause Indiana, said this early deadline for primary voting registration has caused problems for voter turnout as people don’t want to show up so early to register.

She said that in states with higher voter turnout, voters can go to the polling place on Election Day, register and vote. This is called same-day voter registration.

“If we want to improve our voter turnout rate, we will quit having deadlines so far in advance and give people more time to take care of the administrative business that they have to in order to be eligible to vote,” Vaughn said.

According to the World Population Review, Indiana is currently 43rd in the nation in voter turnout at 60.66%.

Vaughn said the biggest obstacle to voter turnout in Indiana is partisan gerrymandering, where congressional and state legislative districts are drawn to favor the majority party.

“This happens in states where politicians control the redistricting process. They draw maps with districts that are safe, and so there’s no competition in many areas of Indiana. There’s very little question as to who’s going to win the election,” Vaughn said.

She added, “Partisan gerrymandering is a major reason why voter turnout is so low here. Too many voters think, you know, my vote can’t really make a difference.”

Vaughn said she believes that redistricting should be done by taking the job away from politicians.

“The problem is not Republican or Democrat. It’s been that we allow the politicians, the ones who were self-interested, to draw the districts. So we think we should follow the lead of other states like California, like Michigan, like Connecticut—states all over the country have turned into citizens redistricting commissions,” Vaughn said.

Vaughn said these states put responsibility for redistricting in the hands of politically balanced citizens and not politicians.

“I think the two No. 1 things we could do in Indiana to really invigorate our voter turnout would be Election Day voter registration and citizens redistricting process for congressional and state legislative districts,” Vaughn said.

Voters may register at indianavoters.in.gov and click “register to vote.” They can also go to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and register there.

Those who have moved need to update their registration if they have moved later than 30 days before an Election Day. Voters must have a valid Indiana driver’s license or state identification card, be a United States citizen, and be at least 18 years old on or before the next election.

John Asplund is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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