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Voting rights groups brainstorms ways to increase voter turnout

Indiana historically has low voter turnout
Posted at 7:26 AM, Nov 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-07 07:26:05-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Despite having several weeks ahead of the election to vote, Indiana historically has low voter turnout.

As of Friday, 30,568 people in Marion County voted early in the 2022 midterm election. That number is lower than in 2018 but significantly higher than in 2019. But Indiana has had low voter turnout for a while.

"The Indiana civic health index that was released earlier this year we showed 46th of the 50 states for the 2020 general election,” said Barbra Tully, president of Indiana Vote By Mail. "We have been in the bottom 10 states probably for the last most of two decades, frankly, and in 2014 we were dead last. We were 50th. “

That's why the Indiana League of Women Voters and Indiana Vote By Mail hosted an event at a voting site. During that time, they asked voters and community members what they think needs to change to get more people to the polls.

Several voters say there needs to be more education on voting.

"We need to get a lot more people registered and a lot of voting education,” said Shauna Lipscomb, a Marion County voter. “People don't know who they are voting for (or) why we should vote, and they don't typically know enough about the candidates. We need to find a way to get more people educated about who is running what they are doing. Those would be some of the ways we can get people interested in voting."

Amber Mitchell, another voter, said, "Part of your government class was getting out of school for a couple of hours and go work the polls. I think if we turned it back to the youth and instilled the values and the importance and show them how to do it that that's where it really starts at the beginning."

Voting rights groups say education is a big factor when it comes to civic engagement.

"It's a little bit shocking to talk to adults who think they understand the three branches of Government and the way elections work and not everybody really has a very clear understanding of that,” Tully said. “So civic education needs to continue into adulthood and it should be part of our everyday conversation.”

However, voting rights advocates say there are things Indiana could do to make voting more accessible.

"We have a very early voter registration deadline its a month before the election so that could certainly change,” Tully said. “We are one of the states with the earliest poll closing hours. We are also one of the only states that don't have employers required to give employees time off to vote on election day."

Sunday was the last day of early voting at the satellite centers around Marion County. You can still cast an early vote tomorrow at the City-County building from 8 a.m. to noon. On election day — Nov. 8 — polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.