News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 3, 2012

EDITORIAL: Registration deadline near

Time for voters to begin preparing for the big day

----
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE —

The last day for Indiana residents to register to vote — Tuesday, Oct. 9 — is quickly approaching.

It’s a day that always reminds us of a not-so-happy Hoosier tradition: that ours is not a voter-friendly state.

Closing the registration period so early for new voters or those wishing to transfer a registration from one address to another is a baffling segment of Indiana’s voting laws. It might have been a bit more understandable before technology made the voting process simpler. Now, it’s just another restrictive measure that discourages people from participating in a vital democratic process.

States have the ability to set their own voting laws, which is why there is such a hodge-podge of them across the country. Some states have laws that are quite friendly to voters. Others, like Indiana, are the opposite. All of the burden falls on voters to comply with clunky regulations such as registering a full month before election day, or ensuring they have a proper photo identification with them when they go to the polls.

It’s not uncommon for citizens to begin engaging in politics a couple weeks before election day. But if they are not registered properly, that’s too late in Indiana. And that’s too bad.

Anyone not yet registered to vote may register in-person at his or her county voter registration office (in Vigo County, that’s in the courthouse), county clerk’s office, or any Bureau of Motor Vehicles license branch. Voters may also mail in their registration form, which can be printed from www.indianavoters.com. Mailed registration forms must be postmarked by the same Oct. 9 deadline. Voters who possess a current, valid Indiana driver’s license or BMV identification card may also register online at www.indianavoters.com.

The ballot will be packed with important choices, including races for president, U.S. Senate, Indiana governor and the 8th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. A host of local races will be decided on election day as well.

We urge you to begin honing in on the various political races in your area and prepare to vote on Nov. 6. Making sure you’re registered, of course, is part of that process.