How much do you know about democracy? Even after a civics class or two, many people aren’t sure how our country’s political system works or how to participate. ADEC wanted to help change that.
Recently, Kelsey McClure from the Elkhart County Voter Registration Office came to ADEC to help our clients learn about our political system and their voting rights. A group of socially distant clients participated in the room. More clients participated via GoToWebinar at our day service locations.
McClure explained what voting is and who is eligible to vote. Voting allows you to select who you want to represent you in the government and pass laws on your behalf. In Indiana, you are eligible to vote if you are age eighteen or older, a US citizen, registered to vote, are not currently in prison, and have lived in your precinct for at least 30 days before the next election.
McClure also explained how to register to vote. You can register by filling out a form at license branches, FSSA offices, and Department of Workforce Development offices. You can also register to vote and preview your ballot online at https://indianavoters.in.gov/. To register, you need to provide your name, address, and driver’s license or state ID number or the last four digits of your Social Security number. If you move to a new district or change your name, you need to reregister to vote. The process for reregistering is the same.
The training covered the fundamentals of how primaries and general elections work. In the primary election, voters choose the candidate for their party that will run against the other parties’ candidates in the general election. She also covered important dates like the voter registration deadline (October 5) and the general election (November 3).
McClure also covered absentee voting, including how to register to vote absentee and how to vote through the mail. Another topic covered was researching candidates. McClure suggested several ways to research candidates before voting including checking a candidate’s voting record, watching debates, and reading interviews.
The training included the details of voting in person, such as casting a provisional ballot, voting straight party, and bringing someone to assist you with voting if needed. To vote in person, you need to bring a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, passport, or Indiana ID card. The photo ID must expire sometime after the date of the last general election. The polls will be open from six AM to six PM on Election Day. To vote absentee, you can vote through the mail or vote in person at an early voting location.
There was significant participation from the audience, with questions from in-person and virtual attendees. Most clients attending in person either registered to vote or took home voter registration forms to register later. Attendees left the event excited to participate in our democracy. ADEC would like to thank Kelsey McClure and the Elkhart County Voter Registration Office for helping our clients learn about their voting rights.