Making Democracy Work

Voter FAQ's

Voter Frequently Asked Questions

This information is provided for anyone seeking information about the voting process in Indiana. It is presented as "frequently asked questions" for quick reference.

Q: What does it mean "to register" to vote?
A: Registering to vote is a way to verify you are a citizen of the U.S., 18 years old by general election day in November and a current resident of a specific geographic area. Voter registration gets your name and address in the poll book for your local polling place. You can't vote if your name's not on the list.

Q: When is the deadline for registration?
A: The deadline for registration for the May primary election is 30 days before the first Tuesday of May. Mail-in voter registration applications must be postmarked on or before 30 days before the first Tuesday of May for the voter to be eligible to vote in the May primary. The deadline for registration for the November general election is 30 days before the first Tuesday in November. Mail-in voter registration applications must be postmarked on or before 30 days before the first Tuesday in November in order to be eligible for the voter to vote in the November general election.

Q: I just moved across town since the last election. Do I have to re-register?
A: Yes. You must transfer your registration whenever you move out of your precinct. Use the Indiana Voter Registration Application to transfer your registration and either mail the completed application postmarked no later than 30 days before the first Tuesday in May or hand deliver it to your county registration office 30 days before the first Tuesday in May. If you are already registered and move to another precinct within 30 days before the election, you may vote on election day in the precinct where you formerly lived. In order to vote in your former precinct you must notify the county voter registration office before the election or make an oral affirmation of your current address to the poll clerks at the election. They will ask you to fill out an Affidavit of Voter Transfer on-site, then allow you to vote.

Q: My last name has changed. Do I have to re-register?
A: Yes. Use the Indiana Voter Registration Application to change your name and/or address; either hand deliver it to your county registration office or mail the completed application postmarked no later than 30 days before an election.

Q: I'll be 18 years old this March. Can I vote for the president?
A: If you will be 18 years old by November 7, you can vote in the May primary and the November general election. In the primary, however, you will receive a ballot only for the party primary. Your ballot will not list school board candidates or referenda. Of course, you must be registered before you can vote in the primary.

Q: Why can't I vote for school board members or on referenda in the primary if I'll be 18 by general election day in November?
A: The elections for school board members and referenda are final decisions made decided with those votes. You aren't legally old enough to "vote" yet. However choices you make on the primary ballot are for a political party. This primary is the way the party selects who will represent it in the general election in the fall. By November when the office holder will be actually elected you'll be 18 and eligible to vote.

Q: Can I go to the courthouse to register?
A: Yes, you can pick up a voter registration application at the county voter registration office. (In many counties it's located in the Clerk of the Circuit Court's office, also known as the county clerk's office.)

Q: Do I have to go to the courthouse to register?
A: No, you can pick up a voter registration application at your local license branch, public library, township trustee or city/town clerk-treasurer's office or print it from this link: Indiana Voter Registration Application. You can also get the voter registration application at local offices of the Family Social Service Administration. Remember to either hand deliver it to your county registration office or mail the completed application postmarked no later than 30 days before an election.

Q: Are there other places I can get the registration forms?
A: Yes, many public assistance agencies provide registration forms. Any agency that dispenses Medicaid, Food Stamps and WIC benefits must also make voter registration applications available. Agencies that provide services to people with disabilities must also offer voter registration. You can also get forms at your local library, most secondary schools, your town clerk/treasurer, the Social Security office and your political party's precinct representative.

Q: Do I have to declare a political party when I register?
A: No, but when you vote in the primary and choose a specific political party's ballot,your party choice becomes public record.

Q: What if I want to participate in only the public school board election in the May primary? Do I have to declare a party?
A: No, you won't have to select a political party. Tell the polling place officials you aren't participating in the primary and only want the public school board ballot.

Q: How do I know where to go to vote?
A: You will vote at the location designated as the polling place for your precinct. (The precinct will be on your registration card.) To find the polling place for your precinct, call the county election office and tell them where you live. Follow this link to the Marion County Polling Place Locator .

Q: What if I can't get to the polls on Election Day?
A: If you request an absentee ballot from your county election office before the election and meet the qualifications you can vote by absentee ballot. You may receive an absentee ballot if:
You will be outside the county on Election Day.
You will be working in a polling place other than your own.
You are confined due to illness, injury or disability.
You are scheduled to work during the 12 hours the polls are open.
You are 65 or older.
You must request an absentee ballot for the primary from the county election office and return it seven days before the first Tuesday in May. The deadline for returning absentee ballots for the general election is seven days before the first Tuesday in November 30.

Q: I've never voted before. Is the machine/ballot hard to understand and use?
A: Not really. If you have any questions, precinct election officials at every polling place will answer your questions and show you a sample ballot before you enter the voting booth. You can also request a demonstration of the voting equipment. Before you arrive at the polling place, you should have learned about the candidates and decided how you are going to vote.

Q: Are polling places accessible for disabled voters?
A: Yes, Indiana state law requires that polling locations be accessible to disabled and elderly voters. Each precinct should have available magnifiers for the visually impaired and chairs for voters unable to stand for extended periods.

Q: What's it like to vote in Marion County?
A: See our brochure, Voting in Marion County.

Q: Can I write in a candidate not on the printed ballot?
A: Yes, however only some write-in votes count in Indiana. Only persons who have declared themselves as candidates in advance and filed with the county or the Indiana Secretary of State may receive write-in votes.

Q: What if someone at my precinct challenges my right to vote?
A: Anyone who challenges your right to vote must declare the reason for doing so in a written affidavit if you are registered. You may still vote if you sign an affidavit stating that the reason given is incorrect and that you are a qualified voter of the precinct. If your name does not appear on the poll list, you may be required to obtain a certificate of error from the county election office.

Q: If I register to vote, will that make me eligible for jury duty?
A: Voter registration rolls are the primary source for jury pools but are not the only list used. Judges also now consult real estate tax rolls, motor vehicle registrations and public utility records for potential jurors.