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Friday, April 19
The Indiana Daily Student


Voter registration deadline for upcoming primary draws near


Students and faculty stopped by the Indiana Memorial Union University Club Wednesday afternoon to get free food, listen to a DJ, see IU’s new polling site and learn about the upcoming Indiana primary elections. The Spring into Civic Engagement event promoted student voting and voter registration.

Inside, there was a cake that read, “Your voice, your vote.”

It’s a message that Lisa-Marie Napoli, associate director of the Political and Civic Engagement program, wants students to remember as the upcoming primary and general elections draw near. But it all starts with voter registration.

With the primary elections taking place on May 8, the deadline to register to vote is almost here. Citizens have until the time their voter registration office closes or midnight Monday, April 9, if they're turning the form in online.

Eman Mozaffar

Voters can visit to register to vote, check their voting status, learn about their polling location and see who’s on their ballot. If a voter wishes to vote in the primary, he or she must register before Monday, but voter registration for the November general election will begin again on May 22 and will end October 9.

Napoli said students should still recognize how important the election is even though it’s a midterm election. She also encouraged them to vote in the primary. 

“We do have some important races,” Napoli said. “Our primary is a very interesting one, and I think there’s a lot of important decisions that could happen.” 

Napoli pointed out the congressional races in Bloomington's own district. 

She added there are a lot of resources to make voter registration easy. Students should talk to their friends and encourage them to register and even go to the polls together.

PACE has partnered with the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President, the IU Student Association and the Monroe County Election Board to get the word about how voter registration and voter turnout. 

The University is taking part in the Big Ten Voting Challenge where Big Ten schools compete to see who can get the most voter turnout in the 2018 general election in November. 

In 2016, IU-Bloomington had 45.4 percent voter turnout rate, according to a National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement by Tufts University. That’s a 4.8 percent increase from 2012.

The voter registration rate in 2016 was 78.1 percent, up from 74.0 percent in 2012. 

Napoli said she wants to see those numbers go even higher this year. Her goal is to have them increase by another 5 to 10 percent.

She said voting helps people become more aware of issues in their local community.

“To me, it’s a first step for civic engagement,” Napoli said. “It’s one that allows students to be true participants in democracy.”

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