IN Voter Turnout Shows Disinterest in Elections, Politics
Monday, July 3, 2023
This July 4th week, Indiana voters may be more interested in family and fireworks than in politics. But the 2024 election run-up is already in full swing.
Presidential hopefuls are spending the long holiday weekend speaking out on the key issues of gun control, abortion access and the economy.
Some are urging voters to focus on the future - even as others still question the legitimacy of the 2020 election.
Will any of their messages resonate in Indiana - a state where voter turnout has ranked in the bottom 10 in the past several elections?
Julia Vaughn, executive director of the nonpartisan political watchdog group Common Cause Indiana, pointed to one indicator of a healthy democracy.
"Voter turnout is one of the ways that we judge whether or not you have a vibrant democracy," said Vaughn. "You know, are people participating? Do they want to come out and make their voices heard through the electoral process?"
For many Hoosiers, the answer is 'no.' According to the Indiana Secretary of State's figures, only 34% of registered voters in Marion County went to the polls in the November 2022 general election.
Crawford, Spencer, and Union counties had the largest voter turnouts, at 51%. Decatur County had the lowest, at 17%.
A Center for Election Research and Innovation poll from December reveals - despite no evidence that fraudulent voting is a widespread issue - half of the respondents said current voting rules "are not strict enough to prevent illegal votes from being cast."
But nearly a third said that rules "make it too difficult for eligible citizens to cast a ballot."
Vaughn said it's more proof that concern is growing as the next presidential contest draws near.
"People have had a sense of dread and apprehension, certainly about federal elections, and in particular presidential elections since 2016," said Vaughn. "So, it seems every four years, people are just really holding their breath and, 'Oh no, what is the outcome going to be?'"
The poll respondents listed a few policies as ways to boost election integrity: better voter ID verification, transparent vote-counting that the public can view, regular purging of deceased and non-resident names from voter rolls, and increasing the number of hours and days for early voting.
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