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March 27, 2014

EDITORIAL: Citizens have until April 7 to become eligible to vote

TERRE HAUTE — Vigo County’s voting process is undergoing a dramatic change this year. Voting centers are replacing precinct polling places, and a touch-screen electronic voting system replaces the pen-and-paper ballot.

This represents long-overdue progress, a major advancement in the way people elect candidates for public office.

Unfortunately, other phases of the process remain mired in past practices. One phase has a deadline bearing down. Monday — April 7 — is the final day a citizen can register to vote or transfer registration to a new location. If you aren’t properly registered by that date, you won’t be able to vote in the May 6 primary election.

It makes absolutely no sense that Indiana’s voter registration deadline has to be a month before the election. With digital technology as advanced as it is, there is no good explanation for such an early deadline. It’s certainly not voter-friendly. Most people don’t tune in to local elections until the final week or two of a campaign season, and if you’re not properly registered, then it’s tough luck.

Citizens needing to register or transfer registration can do so in a number of ways. In Vigo County, the voter registration office on the ground floor of the Courthouse in Terre Haute is open during business hours. In other counties, visit your county clerk’s office. You will need to have a valid Indiana driver’s license or state-issued identification card to register.

Online registration is also available at indianavoters.in.gov. You will be required to type in a number from your driver’s license or ID card in order to register.

The League of Women Voters of Vigo County is doing its part to help get people registered properly. On Saturday, the League is conducting voter registration centers from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at eight sites around the county, including the Vigo County Public Library.

To see the entire site list, visit www.tribstar.com in the latest-news category. A registration center is also planned for Thursday at Ivy Tech from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

We have on numerous occasions encouraged the state to move the voter registration deadline closer to election day. Indiana has made strides on some fronts to make voting more accessible and convenient, but more needs to be done. Easing the registration deadline is one area in which a positive impact could be made.

 

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