More than a month ahead of the Nov. 6 local, state and federal elections, voting already is under way. Absentee voting by mail quietly began nearly two weeks ago. And early in-person voting — which played a huge rule four years ago during Indiana’s rare moment in the sun as a presidential swing state — will start in many counties, including Marion, on Oct. 8. But early balloting isn’t the only factor surrounding voting that’s capturing public attention. A debate rages nationally over whether Indiana — an early pioneer of voter ID laws — and other states take enough pains to make voting secure and prevent voter fraud. At the same time, local officials are expanding voting options aimed at making it easier to participate. With the election fast approaching, here is a look at voting issues.
The popularity of the early voting options is expected to play a big role again in this year’s election — though perhaps not quite at the same level as in 2008, since Indiana isn’t up for grabs in the presidential campaign. Local election officials and party leaders say they expect a drop-off in early voting from record numbers four years ago. That surge largely was driven by Democrats’ enthusiasm amid an active Democratic presidential primary and then a close general election.
President Barack Obama, the first Democrat to win the state since 1964, has all but conceded the state to Republican Mitt Romney this year. “I will definitely say there’s a lot of indecisiveness out there” among voters, said Crystal Adams, 40, an Obama supporter on Indianapolis’ Far-Westside.
Friends and family members seemed locked on their choices by this time four years ago, she said, and were more eager to vote. Still, she expressed optimism that turnout would be high this fall, even if voters wait longer to decide their preferences.