Voter Registration in Indiana
Residents who register to vote in Indiana gain access to a unique array of convenient tools designed to help them stay informed and exercise their rights easily. Recent improvements have also made the state’s voter registration process more efficient and user-friendly. Hoosiers can now apply for a card online, in person, by mail or through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). In some cases, prospective voters may even cast provisional ballots on Election Day without having pre-registered.
Although voters can potentially register last minute, it is in their best interests to explore where and how to register to vote well in advance. Residents who wait until last minute may be prevented from voting by a lack of satisfactory identification, miscommunications about polling places and other mishaps. They can also expect to face unnecessary inconveniences. Registering early consistently provides state residents with the best experiences.
Who can register to vote in Indiana?
Residents can apply for an Indiana voter registration card if they are legal citizens of the United States and have been residents of the state for 30 or more days before Election Day. Applicants must be at least 17 years of age and turning 18 by the next general election to apply. Residents currently incarcerated and serving time for the commission of a crime may not apply until their sentences have been fully discharged.
Indiana Voter Registration Deadline
Indiana voters face a series of deadlines by which they must register or change voter registration to participate in state and national elections. Voters can begin registering for the next election cycle in May every year. Open registration ends in October. General Election Day in November is a voter’s final chance to register, although residents who apply at that time may only vote provisionally. Residents registering to vote through the BMV may do so whenever their documents need to be updated.
How to Register to Vote in Indiana
Residents who ask “Am I registered to vote in Indiana?” and find that they are not have numerous options when it comes to deciding how they wish to register. Which option they select will depend largely on their individual circumstances, resources and preferences. Voters can apply to vote online by using the statewide system and selecting their local registration office. Online voter registration applicants must have current Indiana drivers licenses or BMV-issued non-driver IDs.
Applicants who do not have one of those forms of ID may register to vote in person at a county-level voter registration office, state Election Division Office or a Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) service center. Alternatively, they may submit applications by mail. Regardless of how they register, voters may find it beneficial to enroll in the online system. Once they are registered, applicants can use the web portal to verify and update their information on record, answer common questions like, “Where do I vote?” and get up-to-date information on upcoming elections and election authorities.
All applicants must submit approved forms of photo identification with their applications and at the polls on Election Day. Qualifying voter registration IDs must:
- Include a photo of the record holder.
- State the record holder’s name in a form the conforms with (but is not necessarily identical to) the voter’s name on file with election authorities.
- Be current and bear an expiration date.
- Have been issued by the state or by the federal government.
Voter registration card applicants may also submit Military IDs that do not carry expiration dates or that bear “indefinite” expiration dates as acceptable proof of identity.
Early Voting in Indiana
No special voter registration requirements apply to residents interested in participating in Indiana’s early voting period. Also referred to as “absentee-in-person voting,” early voting begins nearly a month before general Election Day. Approved voters may cast their ballots at sites designated by county election boards. Specific information is available online or from local election authorities.
Indiana Voter Registration for Active Duty Military and Out-of-State Residents
Indiana voter registration applicants serving in the military or living out of state or out of country may be subject to different registration periods and deadlines than other voters. Aside from those variations, they are free to apply for and participate in absentee voting permissions and procedures like all other qualifying residents.
Indiana Voter Registration for Absentee Voting
Residents interested in absentee voting may be subject to additional voter registration requirements and conditions that do not apply to other voters. “Absentee in person” or early voting is open to all registered voters. “Absentee by mail” voters, however, must demonstrate a “need” for the exception to standard voting procedure. Examples of legally valid “need” for applicants registering to vote during the early voting period include but are not limited to:
- Out-of-town business travel scheduled for Election Day.
- Age or disability related limitations.
- Anticipated hospitalization or institutionalization on Election Day.
- Military or public safety service.
- Classification as a “serious sex offender.”
Absentee by-mail voters must request their ballots well before each election, both Primary and General, in which they wish to vote. They may return their ballots early and must return them by election board designated deadlines in order to have them counted. Registered voters casting absentee ballots by mail are the only Indiana voters exempt from showing ID at the time of voting.
Voter Registration Cards in Indiana
County voter registration offices issue Indiana voter registration cards to residents once their applications have been processed and approved. Registration cards identify the record holder and key information including address of record and political party affiliations. It is not necessary for voters to take their cards to their polling places, and the cards cannot be used in place of photo ID when voting.
How to Change Your Voter Registration in Indiana
An Indiana voter registration change of address, name, political party affiliation or other key information can be completed quickly using the online elections system. Voters who prefer not to use the web portal can contact their local election authority and submit a revised registration application form to have their record updated. To change a voter registration address, applicants will need to supply evidence of their new address, such as a utility bill or postmarked mail showing their name and new address. Name change requests must be accompanied by revised Social Security cards, marriage certificates, divorce decrees or other qualifying legal evidence. When updating their voter information, drivers should also be sure to change the address on their driver’s licenses and on other important DMV documents, such as their car registrations.
How to Replace a Lost Indiana Voter Registration Card
Indiana voters can request new voter registration cards from their local election authorities.