Originally published Sept. 28 in TheStatehouseFile.com
The Oct. 5 deadline for voter registration in Indiana is less than a week away and non-partisan groups are working to increase the number of people who can cast ballots in the Nov. 3 election.
But at least one group has been hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has limited many gatherings because of limitations on social gatherings and other activities until Gov. Eric Holcomb moved the state to Stage 5 of his reopening plan.
“Voter registration is drastically behind where we should be for a presidential election year,” said League of Women Voters CEO Virginia Kase in a recent news release.
The voting rights group would typically encourage registration in locations like grocery stores, farmers markets and naturalization ceremonies, but changes had to be made because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now the organization is setting up drive-thru voter registration booths, hosting virtual parties, teaming up with restaurants to put voting information into take-out bags, working with schools to make voter registration announcements over school loudspeakers, and more.
In Indiana, nearly 4.7 million people are registered to vote as of Monday, according to Indianavoters.in.gov. Compared to the number of people registered for the June 2 primary, the number has increased by about 86,000 voters.
More voters than ever have requested absentee ballots—390,223 and 306,911 applications have been mailed out. Of those, 76,241 have been returned to local county clerks where the votes are tallied with the other ballots cast. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 22.
Voters casting mail-in ballots are urged to send them back as soon as possible because in order to be counted, the must be received by local county election officials by noon on Nov. 3.
For Hoosiers hoping to avoid lines on Election Day, there will be early voting sites across Indiana.
To register to vote, request an absentee ballot or find out about an in-person voting site, go to the Indiana voter portal.
Taylor Wooten is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.