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Experts say people don’t vote in nonpresidential elections

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Posted at 7:04 PM, Oct 06, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS —Election Day is about a month away. At the top of the ballot here in Indiana is a U.S. Senate Race.

Election experts still expect voter turn out to be about 20 percent lower than it is during presidential election years. In Indiana voter turnout is much lower than in other parts of the country.

"In a state without competitive elections people get bored in a lot of ways,” Aaron Dusso a political science professor at IUPUI said. “Again, this is at the top of the ballot there are competitive elections down ballot but those aren't what people focus on."

Experts say that during a presidential election years voter turnout is about 60 percent. During a non-presidential election year turnout is around 40 percent.

Rajiv Vinnakota is the President of the Institute for Citizens and Scholars which focuses on civic learning and education. He says many Americans are disillusioned with politics in general.

" We know that most people don’t understand how our government functions,” Vinnakota said. “Our voting levels are usually 50 percent or lower. There is a lot of loss of trust and loss of hope in democracy right now. “

While some people may feel that way people we talked to say they believe local elections are more important than ever.

"It's really important in general. Local elections are just as if not more important than country-wide elections. " Lyndsi Wood a Marion County resident said.

"I think it just feels more urgent every time we do it. I mean I've voted every election I've been eligible to since I was 18 and it hasn’t always gone the same way politically,” Rob Funkhouser a Marion County resident said. “There's a lot of big changes happening and I'm not really quite sure how to feel about those. "

Local elections being more important than ever is something experts agree with. Especially as more down-ballot elections like those for school boards or city councils are becoming more competitive.

"It's a situation where you have an increase in not only different kinds of people running in those races, but you have all kinds of money put into those races,” Dusso said. “In down-ballot races like that it doesn't take that much money relatively to have an effect. “

Getting accurate information about elections, especially for those that are further down on the ballot can be challenging which is why experts say you have to be dedicated to performing your civic duty.

As of last Friday, Marion County had 8, 364 new registrations and 19,746 updated registrations.

The Marion County Board of Voter Registration says they don't track the age, gender, or race of those registering.