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Organization helping people register to vote ahead of midterm election

A RISE Indy volunteer helps register voters
Posted at 8:07 AM, Sep 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-21 08:07:09-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Voter turnout has historically been low in Indiana, especially in local elections.

But Ashley Thompson, senior director of community impact and organizing at RISE Indy, is one of the people trying to make 2022 a little different.

"A lot of people aren't even aware of the upcoming election. Even if they're a registered voter, they're like, I didn't know this was an important election. And we're like, yeah, our local elections are just as important as our national elections," she said.

She spent Tuesday afternoon helping people register to vote at a pop-up registration event at Global Prep Academy on National Voter Registration Day. In midterm years, getting voters to the polls can be an uphill battle. In 2018. turnout was only 51% statewide.

But for many voters, local elections can be personal.

Across town, voters gather for a summit on crime. Jeff Blackwell lost his daughter, Samaria in the FedEx shooting last year. For him, crime in the Circle City is a reason to not only go to the polls, but to meet candidates, shake their hands, and ask their positions.

"This election is important to me because if you look around, the city's in trouble," he said.

Blair Englehart also attended the summit. He works on many political campaigns as president of The Englehart Group.

He said crime and other issues, such as education and abortion, may inspire more voter engagement this year.

"I don't think we're going to see record turnout, but I think we are going to see bigger turnout than usual. All politics are local, so there are national issues that local people are dealing with," he said.

There will be a lot of local issues on this ballot, which Blackwell believes really matters.

"I feel there has to be more on a community level," he said. "Where people are really becoming involved in their neighbors and know who their neighbors are and doing those sorts of things."

He says that's a way to prevent crime, but he also thinks it's a great way to approach politics, as well.

For Thomas, she knows that midterm elections typically have lower turnout, but she has faith in Hoosiers.

"I'm a believer that we're going to see an increase in numbers if our organization has anything to say about it," she said.

There will be a second pop-up registration event Wednesday at Jonathan Jennings School 109 from 4:30-6:30.

Check your voter registration status here. In order to vote in November's elections, you must be registered by Oct. 10.