Voting is for old, white people

Jessie Hellmann

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I don’t need to tell you that voting is important and that it’s your civic duty. You’ve heard it all your life.

But it’s also a hassle, especially in Indiana, where there are many roadblocks which discourage students from voting.

The first roadblock is Indiana voter ID laws.

In Indiana, because of voter ID laws, you can only vote in the county that is stated on your driver’s license or other government ID, which means you can’t vote in the county of your school. You have to go home – whether you live an hour away or 27 hours away. This is where absentee ballots come in. The absentee process is ridiculously difficult and confusing in Indiana. If you can’t make it home on election day, which is on a Tuesday every year, and you want to vote, you have to fill out an absentee ballot.

When you fill out the absentee ballot, you have to send it to the county that is stated on your drivers license. Then, if you’re approved to vote absentee, the county election office will send you your ballot. And then, guess what? You get to send it back.

Here’s the next roadblock:

The Political Science Society landed a huge victory a few years ago by bringing voting polls to campus so students could vote. But then the Vanderburgh County Election Board voted to switch to vote centers, and now there will not be a vote center on campus. The closest one will be on Red Bank Road, which is fabulous… unless you don’t have a car. Then what?

Many students just aren’t motivated to vote. Hell, I’m not even motivated. The deadline for absentee applications are Oct. 29, and I haven’t even filled mine out yet. And I am a political science minor. I understand the importance of voting, and it’s something I care about. But the voting laws in Indiana are catered to fit old, rich people – and I fit neither of those categories.

Our school needs help. This is a call out to organizations on campus – whether it be the Student Government Association (whom I have not heard a peep from regarding anything about the election) or the university administration – to do something.

Besides a few students, like myself, who are involved in the political science society and have been registering people to vote, I have not heard of any other efforts on campus.

Someone needs to organize a carpool for students who want to vote but have no way to a vote center.

More people need to reach out to students and help them register to vote and actually explain processes like absentee ballots to them.

The Indiana legislature needs to reform the absentee process entirely. Sending ballots back and forth is no way to do it.

Think of how many voices are getting lost through this sea of paperwork. It’s time to do something.

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