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Informing groups about their right to vote

Posted at 1:57 PM, Aug 05, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS — We're 13 weeks from the general election. While officials work on plans to help Hoosiers vote during a pandemic, groups are working to make sure everyone knows they have the right to vote.

"After the election or the deadline to register to vote, we were receiving requests for people wondering if they had the right to vote, and oftentimes, they did have the right," Katie Blair, ACLU of Indiana's director of advocacy and public policy, said.

Blair said they started the "Yes You Can Vote" campaign back in 2018 to educate specific groups.

"We receive a ton of requests for information from previously incarcerated Hoosiers who would like to know what their rights are in the voting booth," Blair said.

Voting rights in Indiana are restored when a person gets out of jail or prison; the only time they can't vote is when they're serving their sentence.

"An individual who is on parole or probation or even in jail awaiting trial, they have the right to vote," Blair said.

Blair said that's something anyone impacted by the justice system should be aware of.

She also says the ACLU gets questions about voting from the LGBTQ community as well.

"Transgender people have a lot of concerns when they go to the polls, primarily (about) being outed," Blair said.

If the fear of being for either having their gender identity pointed or being misgendered doesn't keep trans folk from voting, the fear of a poll worker not accepting their ID might also prevent them from voting.

"Folks need to know all they have to do is be registered with the name that's on their legal state ID, and they should have no problems at the polls," Blair said.

If you're a person who happens to have a disability, Katie says you need to know there are accommodations you can request so you can exercise your right to vote.

"Voters that require assistance at the polls can designate a friend, family member, or a trained poll worker to help them fill out their ballot," Blair said.

"We wanted to make sure we can educate people so that they know going into November all of their rights and are able to make their voices heard on election day," Blair said.

College students and recently naturalized citizens are also groups the ACLU of Indiana is hoping to inform with their "Yes You Can Vote" campaign.

Students can register to vote wherever they consider home, and naturalized citizens have the same right to vote as someone who was born in the United States.