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With early voting underway in Indiana, experts weigh in on barriers voters face

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Posted at 11:09 PM, Oct 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-12 23:09:34-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Wednesday was the first day of early voting in Indiana and many people headed to the polls to cast their ballots. However, in Indiana, voter turnout is much lower than most states, especially during non-presidential election years.

Some experts say that there are barriers that Hoosiers have to face when casting their ballots that could be part of the reason.

"Overall we are neither a leader in laws granting access to the polls nor in voter turnout rates," Elizabeth Bennion a Professor of Political Science IU South Bend said.

Indiana requires an ID when voting and voter registration closes 29 days before the election. The Supreme Court requires states to allow voter registration to remain open 30 days before the election. Surrounding states like Illinois and Michigan allow voters to register on the day of the election.

Election experts also say not allowing voting by mail can be a deterrent for some voters.

"We see that turn out is highest in vote-by-mail states where mail-in ballots are allowed for everybody and people can study their choices before mailing in those ballots,” Bennion said.

According to apeer-reviewed article called the "2022 cost of voting index", Indiana ranks 36th in the nation in terms of ease of voting and access to the polls.

In Hamilton County, there was a steady stream of voters, and many of them said they came out for certain races.

"The school board for sure I think that's an important race here and a couple of other county offices,” Steve Schwartz, a Hamilton County Voter said.

"I think that parents need to keep their voice in the schools and make sure that the will of the parents is being carried out in the classrooms," Todd Eschmann, who voted early said.

While those races are important to them, several of the voters we talked to say they have been voting since they were able to.

" I've voted ever since I was 18 I'm 63 now and I believe it's your right to vote I believe you got an obligation to vote,” Bob Rowland, a Hamilton County voter said.

“I have never missed any election since I was 18 and I just believe every election is important and you should show up, " Shelly Allman, an early voter said.

Early voting will expand in most counties on October 29.

In Marion County, every township will have an early voting location at that time, the most they have ever had in Marion county history.