To vote in Indiana...

You have the right to vote in Indiana if you:

--are a U.S. Citizen,

--are a resident of Indiana,

--will be at least 18 years old on November 6, 2012,

--are not currently incarcerated,

--have lived in the precinct where you vote for 30 days before November 6,           2012, and

                --are registered to vote.

To vote in Indiana, a voter needs a valid government- issued photo- identification card.  The card must have the voter's picture and the voter's name on it.  The name on the card must conform to the voter registration records.  The card must have an expiration date and must be current or expired since the last General Election (2010), and it must be issued by the State of Indiana or the United States government.

The best way comply with this law is to get an Indiana driver's license or identification card.  The Indiana identification card is FREE if you need it only to vote.

There are three BMV offices in Vanderburgh County:

–  east at 6420 E. Virginia

-        north at 4209 US Hwy 41 North

-        West at 2421 Allen Rd

The Motor Voter Law says government offices that license motor vehicles and provide services using state funds must offer citizens a chance to register to vote.  So you can register to vote at the BMV where you get your ID card, at the FSSA office, at SWIRCA, and at public libraries.

To get your new identification card, you must present these four kinds of documents:

1.  One document proving your identity:

--original or certified copy of your birth certificate

--amended birth certificate showing a change of legal name, date of birth, or gender

--unexpired U.S. passport

--unexpired foreign passport with a VISA and I-94 form

--consular report of birth abroad (Form FS-240, DS-1350 or FS-545)

--certificate of naturalization (Form N-550 or N-570)

--certificate of citizenship (Form N-560 or N-561)

--unexpired permanent resident card (Form I-551)

--unexpired employment authorization document (Form I-766)

2.  One document proving your lawful status in the U.S.:

--birth certificate,

--passport,

--foreign passport,

--consular report of birth abroad,

--certificate of citizenship,

--certificate of naturalization,

--permanent resident card,

--foreign passport with visa, or

--proof of application for asylum.

3.  Two documents proving your Indiana residency:

--computer generated bill with your name and address from a utility company,

credit card, doctor, or hospital issued within the last 60 days,

--US Postal service change of address confirmation,

--Indiana voter registration card,

--residential mortgage contract or lease,

--bank statement,

--homeowner's, renter's or car insurance policy,

-- W-2,

--property tax or excise tax bill,

--pension or retirement annual benefits summary statement,

--pre-printed pay stub,

--FSSA child support check stub,

--Medicaid or Medicare benefit statement,

--valid Indiana handgun permit,

--first class mail from any federal or state court or agency, dated within 60 days, or

--ID card issued by the Indiana Attorney General confidentiality program.

4.  One document proving your Social Security Number:

--Social security card,

--W-2 form,

--SSA-1099 form,

--non-SSA-1099 form, or

--pay stub with your name and Social Security Number on it.

To get your birth certificate, call the Health Department in the state and county of your birth and request an original or certified copy.  This may take several weeks and there will be a charge.

If your current legal name is different from the name on your birth certificate or lawful status document, you must show legal proof of the name change such as:

--marriage license,

--divorce decree,

--court order with your legal name and date of birth,

--amended birth certificate,

--physician's signed and dated statement that you successfully underwent all

treatment necessary to permanently change your gender.

The Indiana BMV will only accept original documents or certified copies from the issuing agency. Your legal name and date of birth on the documents must match the Social Security Administration records. Faxed or photocopied documents will not be accepted.

If you need transportation to the BMV or to the Health Department, contact one of the political parties or your church for assistance.

        If you are not registered to vote, you can register until Tuesday, October 9, 2012.  You can request and absentee ballot by mail until Monday October 29, 2012.  Call the party of your choice or the Voters Registration Office at 435-435-5224 in Vanderburgh County for more information.

Your candidates for the Indiana Legislature may be different this year.  A redistricting occurred and your address might be in a different House and Senate district than it was before, so the legislative candidates on your ballot may not be your current Representative and Senator and challengers.  The local Democrat and Republican parties have current maps as well as the County Surveyors office.  Check in advance so you can be informed about the candidates from which you will get to choose.

Voting is everyone's right as an American Citizen. Vanderburgh County has 23 voting centers now.  We no longer vote in our ward and precinct. The voting centers are:

47710

Calvary Temple Assembly of God 6050 N First Ave

Salvation Army  1040 n Fulton Ave

Vanderburgh County Highway Garage  5101 N. St. Joseph Ave

47711

Grace Baptist Church 1200 N Garvin St

Northeast Park Baptist Church  1215 N Boeke Rd

Old North united Methodist Church  4201 Stringtown Rd

Southern Indiana Career and Technical Center  1901 Lynch Rd

47712

New Bethel Southern Baptist Church  4301 Broadway

St James United Methodist Church  3111 Hillcrest Terrace

47713

Memorial Baptist Church  605 Canal St

Zion Church Educational Building 1800 S Governor St

47714

Fairlawn United Methodist Church  2001 Parker Dr

Methodist Temple  2109 Lincoln Ave

Nativity Catholic Church  3635 Pollack Ave

47715

Bethel United Church of Christ  3029 N Green River Rd

St John's East United Church 7000 Lincoln Ave

Washington Square Mall  1138 Washington Square

47720

St Paul's United Church  8701 Big Cynthiana Rd

West Side Christian Church  1200 N Red Bank Rd

47725

4-H Fair Auditorium  201 E Boonville New Harmony Rd

Bethlehem United Church of Christ  3029 N Green River Road

Bluegrass Church Community 14240 Petersburg Rd
        McCutchanville Community Church  9505 Petersburg Rd

Polls are open from 6 am to 6 pm on Tuesday November 6.  Both political parties provide rides to the Voting Centers.

There is also early voting at the following places:

--The Civic Center Election Office: 8 to 4 Monday through Friday between October 8 and November 5 at noon, Saturdays from 8 to 4 on October 27 and November 3.

Central Library at 200 MLK Jr Blvd,

McCullough Library at 5115 Washington Ave,

Oaklyn Library at 3001 Oaklyn Drive,

North Park Library at 960 Koehler Drive, and

Red Bank Library at 120 S Red Bank Rd.:  noon to 6 Monday through Thursday between October 15 and November2, and noon to 5 on Fridays October 19, October 26, and November 2.

The Salvation Army and Northeast Park Baptist Church:  8 to 3 on Saturdays October 27 and Saturday November 3.

If you need assistance to vote, you may designate a person of your choice to assist you so long as that person is not your employer or a union representative.

Polling places must be accessible for people with disabilities including impaired vision, impaired mobility, impaired communication, and impaired dexterity. .

If you are convicted of a felony, you are allowed to vote if you are not currently incarcerated.  So if you have served your sentence, you can vote.

IF YOU GO TO VOTE AND DO NOT HAVE A VALID ID CARD YOU CAN STILL VOTE.  Ask to cast a "PROVISIONAL BALLOT".  You will then have THIRTEEN DAYS (13) to bring your valid ID to the County Election Board.

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO ASK FOR HELP IF SOMEONE TRIES TO STOP YOU FROM VOTING.

YOU CAN VOTE ABSENTEE IF YOU:

--reasonably and specifically expect to be absent from the county on Election                      Day during all 12 hours,

--will be an election official,

--will be confined due to illness or injury the entire 12 hours,

--are disabled,

--are over 65,

--care for someone confined due to illness or injury the entire 12 hours,

--are scheduled to work the entire 12 hours,

--are prevented from voting due to your religion or holiday the entire 12 hours, or

--participate in the address confidentiality program.

Indiana passed its law in 2005 requiring a photo ID be shown by all voters before casting ballots.  Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, a case filed by civil rights groups, went to the Supreme Court, which said the law was constitutional.

The federal Election Assistance Commission recently found "there is widespread but not unanimous agreement that there is little polling fraud" [Urbina, Ian (April 11, 2007) The New York Times].  During the George Bush administration, "the Justice Department devoted unprecedented resources to ferreting out polling place fraud over 5 years and appears to have found not a single prosecutable case across the country."  [Hasen, Richard (May 18, 2005) Slate]  Democrats have challenged voter identification laws, comparing them to Jim Crow laws. Civil rights groups claim the laws disproportionately hurt African Americans and Latinos, students, the elderly and disabled. The Election Assistance Commission says one effect of voter identification laws is lower voter turnout, especially among minorities.  Garrard Beeney, an attorney representing people opposed to the voter ID laws, says the benefits of voter ID are outweighed by the consequences to the people who will be excluded from voting.  Minorities, he said, do not live in the world of the courtroom. They live in a world of lower education levels, greater poverty, and limited access to transportation. [Gamboa, Suzanne, (August 27, 2012) Associated Press]

A federal trial over South Carolina's voter identification law started August 27, 2012. The fraud the Senator who created the law testified about would not be addressed or prevented by requiring photo identification.  The fraud cases were not incidents of impersonation. Senator George "Chip" Campsen III said he could not find cases of voter impersonation. The Justice Department rejected the South Carolina law because it violates Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act which protects minority voters.

The State of Ohio just eliminated early voting for the last three days before the election.  Fifty Six percent of African Americans in Ohio voted early in 2008.

The Brennan Center for Justice said voter identification laws "may sharply tilt the political terrain for the 2012 election" by restricting voting access for up to 5 million people of color, the poor and the elderly.  [JohnJohnSaidIt.com (August 25, 2012)   "Rev. Sharpton Exhorts Cleveland Crowd to Fight Ohio Voter ID Laws"]

Rev. Al Sharpton and his National Action Network will set out between now and Election Day to make sure as many people as possible get the IDs they now need.  Sharpton said it was a contradiction to erect a monument in Washington D.C. honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and at the same time to work to take away the same voting rights that Dr. King gave his life to secure.

On June 23, 2012, Pennsylvania Speaker of the House Republican Mike Turzai stated that Pennsylvania's recent voter identification law would "allow Governor [Mitt] Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania in the 2012 U.S. Presidential election. [Voter ID Law Comment, Youtube], ["Turzai's Voter ID Remark Draws Criticism, (June 26, 2012) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette], ["PA Democrats Unhappy with GOP Comments About New Voter ID Law", (June 26, 2012) CBS Television, Pittsburgh, PA].

On August 30,2012, a U.S. District Court struck down the Texas voter identification law ruling it would hurt turnout among minority voters and impose "strict unforgiving burdens on the poor" by charging fees to get the ID cards. The ID card itself is free, but it can cost over $20 to obtain a certified copy of a birth certificate, and it requires a trip of up to 250 miles round trip to the state Department that issues the ID cards. This was said to be a heavy burden for the poor and minorities, especially the working poor. Attorney General Eric Holder, who in July compared the Texas law to a poll tax, praised the decision and said it helps ensure every American has the right to vote and to have that vote counted. This came two days after another U.S. District Court struck down the Texas redistricting, saying they had intentionally discriminated against minority voters in drawing the electoral district maps. ["Court Blocks Texas Voter ID Law, Citing Racial Impact", (August 31, 2012) NYTimes.com]

Please act now to get your identification, register to vote, and vote at an early voting site or at an election center.  Ask for help if you need it. Take your role as a U. S. citizen seriously and honor those who fought and died to give us each the right to vote. Think how will you feel if the candidate you want to win does not win and you did not take the time and effort to overcome the barriers placed between you and your right to vote.