Voting for the first time in Indiana? Here’s what you need to know

by Noah Crenshaw | Editor-in-Chief
Published: Last Updated on

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 30, 2020 after the Marion County Election Board voted to add Lucas Oil Stadium as an additional early voting location.

Election Day is just around the corner for Hoosiers to vote in local, state and federal races. If you are voting for the first time, it can be confusing to understand how it works, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Here is what you need to know about voting for the first time and how to do it safely.

When is the election?

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. 

How do I check to see if I’m registered to vote? 

Voters can check their registration status by going to the Indiana Voters website. On the site, voters can look at their provisional ballot status, find their county’s contact information, find their polling place and check on the status of their absentee ballot applications.

If you are not registered to vote, you cannot vote in this election. The last day to register in Indiana was Oct. 5.

In order to vote, you need to have an ID, according to the Indiana Secretary of State’s office. The ID needs to have your photo, your name, display an expiration date and either be current or have expired after Nov. 6, 2018, the date of the last general election, and be issued by the state of Indiana or the U.S. Government. According to the Indiana Secretary of State’s office, an Indiana driver’s license, photo ID card, military ID or U.S. Passport is sufficient in most cases.

College students can vote for candidates at either their home or school address, depending on how they registered to vote, according to the Indiana Secretary of State’s office. A student ID from an Indiana state school can only be used if the ID meets the criteria above, according to the Indiana Secretary of State’s office. However, a student ID from a private institution cannot be used for voting purposes.

If you are a first-time voter, you will need to present documents at the poll that confirm your residence address if you registered by mail. These documents will need to include your current name and address, according to the Indiana Secretary of State’s office.

Examples of these documents are:

  • An Indiana driver’s license or state ID card
  • Any current and valid photo ID
  • A current utility bill
  • A bank statement
  • A government check 
  • A paycheck 
  • Any other government document that shows your current name and address

You will also need to make sure your photo ID meets Indiana’s requirements, according to the Indiana Secretary of State’s office.

Can I vote early?

In-person early voting in Indiana is available from Oct. 6 to Nov. 2. All registered voters in Indiana are eligible to vote early. To find out information about your county, you can go to the Indiana Voters portal.

If you are registered to vote in Marion County, you can vote early at the Indianapolis City-County Building from Oct. 6 to Nov. 2. Additional early voting locations will be open from Oct. 24 to Nov. 1, according to the Indy Votes website.

Those additional locations are:

  • Krannert Park Community Center
  • Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township Administration Building
  • Perry Township Government Center
  • St. Luke’s United Methodist Church
  • Warren Township Government Center

On Oct. 30, the Marion County Election Board voted to allow early voting at Lucas Oil Stadium. Early voting will take place on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., according to The Indianapolis Star.

Voters who want to vote early need to already be registered and wear a mask and bring a valid photo ID. 

Can I vote by mail?

In Indiana, you are required to give a reason why you need an absentee ballot to vote. The COVID-19 pandemic is not one of the excused reasons to vote by mail, according to CBS 4.

The state currently has 11 accepted excuses to vote by mail, according to the Indiana Secretary of State’s office:

  • The voter has a “reasonable expectation” that they will be out of county during the entire time polls are open on Election Day 
  • The voter has a disability
  • The voter is 65 years old or older
  • The voter has official election duties outside of their voting precinct
  • The voter is scheduled to work during the entire time the polls are open
  • The voter will be “confined due to illness or injury” or caring for someone who is confined as such for the entire time the polls are open
  • The voter is prevented from voting due to a religious discipline or holiday on Election Day
  • The voter participates in the state’s address confidentiality program
  • The voter is a member of the military or a public safety officer
  • The voter is considered a “serious sex offender” as defined by state statute
  • The voter does not have access to transportation to the polls

For information on the voting by mail procedures for your county, go to the Indiana Voters portal.

If you are still planning to vote by mail in Marion County, you have to complete and return an application by 11:50 p.m. on Oct. 22, according to the Indy Votes website. Applications can be submitted online or sent to the Marion County Election Board by mail, email or hand-delivery, according to the Indy Votes website.

Once you receive your ballot, it needs to be marked, signed and returned to the Marion County Election Board at 200 E. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204 by 12 p.m. on Nov. 3 for it to be counted, according to the Indy Votes website. For more information on the procedures in Marion County, go to vote.indy.gov

How do I find my polling place and find out who is on my ballot?

Registered voters can find their polling place and find out who is on their ballot by going to the Indiana Voters website. Marion County voters can go vote.indy.gov/vote-centers to find the list of voting centers in the county.

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