Editorial: Municipal Elections allow voters to fulfill civic duty

Contact: Allison Fore


Secretary of State Todd Rokita
October 29, 2007

I have had the privilege of serving as Indiana’s chief election officer now through five years of federal, state, and local elections. It is encouraging with every election cycle to sense the energy that builds in Indiana as we near the first Tuesday in November, and it is important that we maintain the same level of enthusiasm for municipal elections as we do for federal elections.

On November 6, 2007, many counties in our state will hold Municipal Elections. This is an important opportunity for citizens to select the officials whose decisions have the most direct impact on our communities. Local government plays a key role in determining how state and federal dollars are allocated for roads, schools, and other special projects. They are the elected officials who are often the most accessible and the most knowledgeable about community-specific issues.

Fulfilling civic duty means more than voting every four years when the national spotlight shines on elections. It means staying informed about local issues, communicating with elected officials at all levels of government, paying attention to decisions they make, and holding them accountable by registering to vote and casting a ballot. Many Hoosiers also fulfill their civic duty by serving as poll workers – an important job that plays an invaluable role in keeping elections free, fair, and in the hands of the people.

I would like to challenge Hoosiers across the state to embrace this fuller concept of civic duty as we approach the 2007 Municipal Elections. At the state level and in every one of Indiana’s 92 counties, we have worked during recent years to improve the integrity of the voting process and to improve accessibility of voting systems and polling places. With the implementation of a statewide voter registration system (SVRS) linking all counties in real time, Indiana’s photo ID requirement, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant polling places, and modern voting systems, Hoosiers can cast their ballots with confidence that their votes will count and count equally with every other legitimate vote cast.

To check your voter registration or polling location, please visit http://www.IndianaVoters.com. Voters  may also call the Hoosier Voter Hotline at 866-IN-1-VOTE or 866-461-8683. Employees of the Secretary of State's office will staff the telephone line between 6a.m. to 7p.m. EDT on November 6 and during normal business hours other days.

If you are able to take the extra step and volunteer to work the polls this Election Day, I encourage you to do so. In Indiana, it takes at least 30,000 poll workers to keep more than 5,500 polling places operating smoothly. It is truly a rewarding experience to see democracy in action. For information about serving as a poll worker, visit http://www.WorkThePolls.in.gov , or contact your local county election official.

If you are unable to vote in person on Election Day, remember that any registered voter may vote absentee-in-person at their local county clerk’s office until noon the day before Election Day, November 5, 2007.

I hope you will join me in fostering a renewed sense of civic engagement across our state by making this Municipal Election day one with high voter participation, high poll worker participation, and spirited discussion of the issues that affect our daily lives. See you at the polls.