IT'S IMPORTANT THAT YOUR VOICE IS HEARD IN THE NOV. 8 MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS
It may not be a presidential or gubernatorial election year, but there are still plenty of reasons to go vote on Tuesday, November 8.
Mayor and council candidates will be on ballots across the state, including here in Fort Wayne. While some of these races may not have the same high-profile media attention as state or national offices, they are important and will have an impact on local residents.
As someone who served for two terms on the Fort Wayne City Council, I can attest to the wide variety of key decisions made in these offices.
Between now and Election Day, Indiana voters will make choices on who holds these offices.
Here are some reasons why you should go vote in this year's municipal elections.
•It's easy. Voters may find their polling places and driving directions online at www.IndianaVoters.com by entering a name and date of birth. While at the website, voters may also get an advance look at their respective local ballots so they will know exactly which candidates and issues they'll be considering. Polls in Indiana are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Election Day, providing flexibility for busy schedules.
•Photo IDs are simple to obtain. An Indiana or federal government-issued identification card, like a driver's license, U.S. passport or military ID, is required to vote, but residents who don't have photo identification cards can easily obtain them free-of-charge at any Indiana license branch. Branch hours are available online at www.in.gov/bmv, are posted at each location, and are generally publicized prior to each election. When seeking a photo ID, voters should bring a birth certificate, pay stub, utility bill or bank statement, and Social Security card or document that includes their Social Security number.
•You may be able to vote early. Early voting is available at the Allen County Election Board offices through Monday, November 7. This can be a convenient option for those who are unable to make it to the polls on Election Day. Voters may ask about early voting and absentee procedures by calling their county's voter registration office. Here are local numbers:
Allen County Election Board: 260-449-7329
Allen County Voter Registration Office: 260-449-7154
•Information on the candidates is readily available. Consult area newspapers, radio and television stations for coverage on candidate views concerning topics important to you. This will help in preparing for your Election Day choices. After arriving at your polling site, look for signs posted with directions on how to use the voting machines, a list of voting rights, information on provisional ballots and instructions for filing a complaint if you believe your rights are violated.
•Polling places are accessible. All polling places must have facilities and machines accessible to elderly voters and those with disabilities. A complete overview of election law is available at www.in.gov/sos/elections. Voters with questions can find contact information for their respective county election boards as well as information about campaign finance and other election issues on the website.
•You can help. Contact your county clerk or election board to see if workers are needed at your neighborhood polling site. Phone numbers are available at www.IndianaVoters.com.
•Your vote in municipal elections matters. These are people making decisions that directly affect how much in taxes you pay, where your city tax dollars go, how your neighborhoods look and the quality of city services you receive. Your vote could impact the future of your community. I hope you make your voice heard.
Sen. David Long (R-Fort Wayne) is President Pro Tem of the Indiana Senate. He serves District 16, which includes portions of Fort Wayne.