Civic Engagement Series: a guide to casting your ballot in the 2020 primaries
Editor's Note: In our first Civic Engagement story this spring, we brought you GreatNews.Life Founder Chris Mahlmann's perspective on why voting in local elections matters. You can find that here. This story below is the second in our series for the 2020 primary elections. Please exercise your civic duty to vote!
All the dates around Indiana's primary elections have been pushed back by 28 days due to the challenges presented by the recent pandemic. By this time in normal situations, we would know our November front runners, and while state and local officials have taken this extra time to adjust policies and procedures to make voting safe, voters would do best for themselves and their communities to take this extra time, too, to get engaged and be informed about local elections.
Primary elections in Indiana have been moved to June 2, 2020.
Are you registered?
While the deadline to register to vote has already passed, you can easily check if you are registered by visiting IndianaVoters.com and clicking on Check Voting Status.
Do that now, well before election day, so if there is a problem you have time to address it. The information on this portal is maintained by your local county clerk of the circuit court in conjunction with the Indiana Secretary of State's Office. If your voter registration information is not correct, contact your local county elections office, or the Hava Administration (Help American's Vote Act) via email at HAVAADMINISTRATOR@SOS.IN.GOV .
Voting absentee-in-person and absentee-by-mail
One of the biggest changes in the 2020 primaries due to the pandemic is that everyone is now eligible for absentee voting, in particular, voting by mail.
To vote absentee-by-mail, you must submit your request for an absentee ballot no later than May 21, 2020 by 11:59 pm local time. But don't wait. If you're a registered voter and you know you want to vote by mail, log in to your voter portal page at IndianaVoters.com and click on Voting Information on the left, then Absentee Ballot. There, you can download the application to vote absentee-by-mail that must be returned to the county by the deadline above. You can mail, fax, email, or hand-deliver your application. Follow all instructions on the form.
If you submit your request for an absentee-by-mail ballot by the May 21 deadline you should receive your ballot to cast in time for the June 2 election.
You can also vote absentee-in-person (or, in other words, early voting before June 2 in person), but per Indiana Election Committee order, hours for early voting in person are limited to Tuesday, May 26, 2020-Noon, Monday, June 1 2020. Check your local county election commission for details.
Voting on election day, June 2
Polls will be open from 6 a.m. - 6 p.m., June 2 for voting, although voting earlier via absentee-by-mail is highly encouraged.
Indiana has requested federal funding to assist with providing the required sanitary precautions at polling places on election day, including masks and hand sanitizer, and protocols for sanitizing surfaces will be put in place.
In Indiana, a photo ID is required to cast your ballot in person, where early or on election day. Click here for examples of acceptable forms of ID.
Some polling places in Northwest Indiana counties may have changed since the last time you voted. If you plan to vote in person, get familiar with your polling location early. Again, you can easily check your polling place by visiting IndianaVoters.com and clicking on Voting Location.
Problems casting your ballot on election day
If you arrive at your polling place on election day and encounter an issue, such as, you believe you are registered to vote but officials do not have your information correct or cannot find it in the records, you can still cast a ballot. The Indiana Voter's Bill of Rights allows voters to cast a provisional ballot if there is a question about the voter's qualification to vote in that particular precinct. If you are denied a traditional ballot, simply say, "I am requesting a provisional ballot" and the poll worker will help you with that process.
The next story in our Civic Engagement Series will guide voters on how to learn about the candidates who are on the 2020 Primary Election ballot. If you have information about virtual candidate forums or helpful places where voters can find information about who the candidates are, and where they stand on issues of importance to those in the Region, email your information to email@example.com.