Turnout likely low for Tuesday’s election


By Hannah Troyer


Midterm elections typically have lower voter turnouts and Tuesday isn’t likely to break the trend.

What you need to know

Voting hours:

The polls are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time. Voters in line at 6 p.m. are allowed to vote.

Poll locations:

You can find your polling place and copies of online ballots online at www.indianavoters.com/.


You will need a photo ID issued by the state of Indiana or the federal government that includes an expiration date. Military IDs with the expiration date of “INDEF” qualify.

In most cases, an Indiana driver’s license, Indiana photo ID card, military ID or U.S. passport is sufficient.

Exemptions exist for the indigent, those with religious objections to being photographed and individuals living in a state-licensed facility where the precinct’s polling place also is located.

Those who need an ID can obtain one at local license branches.

Provisional ballots:

If you are unable or unwilling to present identification meeting these requirements, you may cast a provisional ballot. You then have 10 days to provide the necessary documentation or confirm that one of the law’s exemptions applies to you.

In fact, University of Evansville political science professor Robert Dion said the numbers could be even smaller than in the past because there are few prominent races on the ballot in Indiana.“Typical things that drive voter turnout up are not present in this cycle,” Dion said. “You have the absence of a presidential race. There are also no senate races this year.”

The top of the Indiana ticket on Tuesday will be the secretary of state’s race and congressional contests, all of which are expected to go to the incumbents.

Dion also said competitive races also can drive up voter participation. But that’s not happening this year either – at least not statewide.

“There are not a lot of high profile, hotly contested races that might increase voter turnout,” Dion said.

Four years ago – the last midterm election – about 41 percent of Indiana’s registered voters showed up at the polls or cast an absentee ballot. In 2006, it was 40 percent.

Dion is predicting voter turnout will be in the 30 percent range this year.

But some county clerks are more optimistic.

Shelby County Clerk Vicki Franklin said good early voting numbers could predict a good turnout.

“Early voting has gone very, very well. Our numbers are up from the spring,” said Franklin.

More than 1,000 people have voted early in the office, she said, about 300 more absentee ballots are expected.

Franklin said voter turnout locally will be decent because of several local races – including the battle for seats on the Shelby Eastern School Board.

Jefferson County Clerk Karen Mannix is also optimistic about the percentage of people voting in the midterm elections. About 10 percent of registered voters have already voted by absentee ballot and by mail.

“We hope to have 50 percent of voters (participate),” Mannix said. “We average about 40 percent (during midterm elections). I can’t say we will do better than that because we don’t have a referendum, but we will see.”

Dion said low turnouts show that voters aren’t taking advantage of an important societal role.

“This is unfortunate and too bad, really, because voting matters and elections are important,” Dion said. “Decisions will be made that will affect each person. In the best of both worlds, we’d have everyone come out.”

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


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