INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Although more than a third of Hoosier voters cast their ballots early during the coronavirus pandemic, Election Day arrives Tuesday with polling places open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Early voting ended at noon Monday across Indiana.
Where to vote: voting center or polling place?
Registered voters can go online and click on “voting location” to find out where to vote and to see what’s on the ballot.
In Indiana, 46 counties require voters to go to specific polling places, while another 46 including Marion County have voting centers. Simply put, a vote center is a polling place where any eligible voter in the county may go to vote. A 2010 study found the vote centers save money and also provide flexibility for election officials and voters. Marion County first allowed vote centers in 2018.
Marion County has a website with a list of its 187 voting centers as well of a map to find the one most convenient to each voter. The surrounding counties of Boone, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Morgan and Shelby also have vote centers. A total of 46 of Indiana’s 92 counties — including Bartholomew (including city of Columbus), Grant (Marion) Howard (Kokomo), Tippecanoe (West Lafayette) and Wayne (Richmond) counties — have voting centers.
Of the counties surrounding Indianapolis, only Hamilton County requires Election Day voters to report to a specific polling place. Also in central Indiana, Delaware, Madison and Monroe counties require voters to report to specific polling places.
Take your ID
Voters are required to have government-issued photo IDs. In most cases, an Indiana driver’s license, an Indiana photo ID card, a military or veteran ID, or a U.S. passport meets Indiana’s photo ID requirements. In Marion County and other counties with electronic poll books, the photo ID will be scanned to bring up each voter’s information. Voters should not sign a poll book until their ID is confirmed.
If the voter does not already have a valid photo ID, the voter can obtain an Indiana photo ID card free of charge from any Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) license branch on Election Day. All BMV branches will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday. The branches will not close for lunch hours. The BMV has a list of documents required to get a valid ID.
The name on the ID must match the name on the voter registration record, although not identically. Each ID must contain an expiration date showing the ID is current or that it expired sometime after the date of the most recent general election, Nov. 6, 2018. There are some exceptions for IDs issued by the federal government.
If the voter is unable or unwilling to present a photo ID that meets these requirements, the voter may cast a provisional ballot.
Voters who are indigent or have religious objections to being photographed had to claim a photo ID exemption from the local election board 10 days before Election Day.
What can I bring to the polls? Can someone help me vote?
Voters can bring any notes that will help them vote. So, each voter may bring a list of candidates they intend to choose.
Voters can also designate anyone to assist them, including a relative or friend. However, voters may not designate the voter’s employer, an officer of the voter’s union or a union representative.
Voters can also fill out a form to have judges offer assistance, but both judges must accompany the voter into the voting booth.
Children can also accompany a voter to the polls.
Voters can use a cellphone or other electronic device at the polls as long as they do not engage in electioneering — advocating for or against a candidate — or have loud, disruptive conversations, according to the 2020 Election Day Handbook.
If a voter requested an absentee ballot but did not mail it back to the election board or drop it off at a voting center or the post office ballot drop-off location, the voter can return the absentee ballot at the polling place and vote in person. If a voter requested an absentee ballot but never received one, the voter can fill out an affidavit and vote in person.
What not to wear to vote
Voters cannot wear “Make America Great Again” hats, “Biden Harris 2020” T-shirts or any other gear that supports a candidate within 50 feet of the entrance to the room where voting will take place. If voters do so, poll workers can ask the voters to leave. The 2020 Election Day Handbook for Indiana’s poll workers provides this explanation:
“State law defines ‘electioneering’ as expressing support or opposition to any candidate or political party or expressing approval or disapproval of any public question in any manner that could reasonably be expected to convey support or opposition to another individual. ‘Electioneering’ includes wearing or displaying an article of clothing, sign, button, or placard that states the name of any political party or includes the name, picture, photograph, or other likeness of any currently elected federal, state, county, or local official. A person who commits electioneering within the polls or the chute commits a Class A misdemeanor. … ‘Electioneering’ does not include any materials a voter may bring with them into the voting booth to assist them with voting. While a poll worker may ask that a voter remove or cover-up the ‘electioneering’ items, a voter who does not comply with the request does not lose their right to vote. The person should be offered a regular ballot, if otherwise qualified. However, poll workers may file a complaint with the county election board, which could result in a class A misdemeanor prosecution.
Do I have to wear a mask?
Masks and face coverings are not required to vote.
In Marion County, election workers will require voters to maintain a 6-foot distance between other voters when standing in line. Voters should anticipate longer-than-normal lines because of this social-distancing requirement. Marion County voters are encouraged to wear masks and use hand sanitizer upon entry into the voting location. Voters should expect to see election workers wear personal protective equipment. Marion County voters will be provided with disposable finger sleeves to use for the touch-screen voting machine. Voting machines will be frequently cleaned throughout the day.
When does the counting begin in Marion County?
Procedures for canvassing votes in Indiana vary depending on the precinct. In Marion County, election officials will begin canvassing absentee ballots Tuesday morning. A set time for the absentee ballot counting has not been determined, according to Russell Hollis, deputy director for the Marion County Clerk’s Office. Hollis said Marion County anticipates it taking multiple days to count through the absentee votes. He said the county should have those results “likely at the end of the week.”
The vast majority of Election Day votes should be available on the county’s results page on Tuesday after the polls close, Hollis said.
The 2020 Election Day Handbook for Indiana’s poll workers provides more details on canvassing procedures in Indiana.
How long will this take?
Your guess is as good as anyone’s.
Report an issue at a voting location
The Help America Vote Act Office will be open from 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday. The phone number is 866–461-8683.
A state website provides phone numbers for local election offices.