Election Day is Nov. 8, but Hoosiers don’t have to wait that long to cast their ballots.
Indiana is one of 46 states that offer early voting, which is sometimes referred to as absentee-in-person voting. The early voting period begins Wednesday and runs through Nov. 7 at noon.
While Hoosiers who complete an absentee-by-mail application have to state a valid reason they can’t make it to the polls, any registered voter can vote early–no excuse required.
In Marion County, early ballots can be cast at the Marion County Election Board at 200 E. Washington St. If you live in a different county and want to find out where you can vote early, contact your county clerk’s office or use this handy tool.
Participation in early voting has grown steadily over the past decade, peaking in 2020 as Hoosiers took precautions during the pandemic. Early voting reached an all-time high in the 2020 general election, with more than 1.8 million, or 61 percent of all votes, coming in the form of early or absentee ballots, according to the Secretary of State’s office.
While it may take another global health crisis to reach that threshold again, more Hoosiers are deciding to vote in person or by mail. During the May primary, 27 percent of voters turned ballots in early or by mail, compared with 20 percent of voters in the 2018 midterms.
The majority of those who do vote early often wait until the final week before Election Day to cast their ballot, says Cam Savage, an Indianapolis-based political strategist who works on Republican campaigns.
“What we’ve found is that people still vote pretty close to Election Day in Indiana,” Savage said. “You have a massive amount of people who vote only a day or two early.”
Despite giving Hoosiers 28 days to vote early, Indiana consistently ranks low in voter turnout; in 2020, the state ranked 42nd in turnout, according to the United States Elections Project.
Voting rights advocates say the state’s photo ID requirement deters some Hoosiers from showing up to the polls.
“We attribute that [low turnout] to more restrictive laws and the fact that there’s very little competition in Indiana elections–certainly at the congressional and state legislative levels–because of gerrymandering,” said Julia Vaughn, executive director for government watchdog Common Cause Indiana.
Election officials in Indiana can begin processing early votes as soon as ballots are received.
If you haven’t registered to vote, you have until Tuesday to do so. The deadline to apply for an absentee voting by mail application is Oct. 27.