Indiana Election Division

Study Committee Considers Automatic Voter Registration

Aug 30, 2017

Members of a legislative study committee Wednesday debated the merits of automatic voter registration. The discussion was part of an examination of election laws’ impact on voter participation.

Ten states in the country have some form of automatic voter registration. In most of them, citizens are registered to vote while doing other business at the BMV.

Advocates say the system could increase voter turnout.

Nadya Peek / https://www.flickr.com/photos/nadya/2977614168

Indiana’s high absentee voter turnout may signal a large primary turnout on May 3. Indiana voters have submitted around 119,000 absentee requests so far -- that's about as many total absentee ballots were cast four years ago.

Indiana Election Division co-director Angie Nussmeyer says 2008 set the standard for Indiana turnout. She says around 185,000 Hoosiers voted absentee in the 2008 primary.

Nussmeyer says this election’s bounce-back may stem from heightened political interest and increasing absentee ballot awareness.

Noah Coffey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/noahwesley/

Indiana saw the highest voter turnout for municipal elections in recent memory during this month’s race, even though only 20.5 percent of all eligible voters made their way to the polls.

Because it was a municipal election, only about 60 percent of all registered people were eligible to vote -- about 2.7 million voters.

Angie Nussmeyer of the Indiana Election Division says in 2011, 15 percent al all eligible voters voted in municipal elections, and in 2007, only 14 voted. She says the number of contested mayoral races probably led to this year’s jump.