Let's Get Ready To Vote!
Let's Get Ready To Vote!
Did you know that September 22nd is National Voter Registration Day? National Voter Registration Day is a civic holiday celebrating our nation’s democracy. It was first observed in 2012 and is always celebrated on the fourth Tuesday of September. National Voter Registration Day is a great opportunity to prepare yourself for the upcoming 2020 General Election taking place on Tuesday, November 3rd.
Let’s do a quick walk-through of the voting process, from registration through Election Day.
Are you eligible to vote?
In order to vote in St Joseph County this fall you must turn 18 years old on or before the Nov. 3rd election, be a US citizen, be a resident of Indiana, and not be currently in prison after being convicted of a crime.
Keep in mind that you can only register at one location, so college students, for example, can only register at their home county or the county they live in while at school – but not both.
Registering to vote is a simple process that requires you to have a valid Indiana Driver’s License or Indiana State Identification Card. You can either register online or by filling out a valid registration form and delivering it by mail or in-person.
If you are already registered and need to update your information, that is easily done online as well.
The best tool we have is Indiana’s Voter Portal.
**DID YOU KNOW? The percentage of times Indiana voted for a winning president since 1900 is 70%.
Indiana’s Voter Portal can be found online at https://indianavoters.in.gov/ and can help you with all your online voting needs. Using this website you can register to vote, check your registration status, apply to vote by mail, find local voting locations, and discover who is on the ballot for the upcoming election.
Voter registration is currently ongoing – and it ends on Monday, October 5th so now is a great time to get signed up.
Checking your registration status is simple; you’ll need to enter your name, date of birth, and county of residence to view your registration information.
**DID YOU KNOW? It wasn’t until 1845 that Congress set a specific day for presidential elections; they chose the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, which continues today.
There are several ways to vote successfully in Indiana.
Option 1: Vote by Mail “Absentee-by-mail”
There are currently 12 accepted excuses for voting by mail in Indiana. This list does not include an excuse specifically related to COVID-19. No-excuse mail-in voting was permitted during the June 2nd Primary Election only because Indiana was under stay-at-home orders.
To receive a ballot by mail, you must request an application which you then send back. These applications must be received by election officials by Oct 22nd – so request one at least two weeks prior in order to give the Post Office enough time to get one to you.
Each voter must fill out their own ballot. A completed ballot must be received by election officials no later than noon on November 3rd. There are no exceptions!
Option 2: Early Voting “Absentee-in-person”
You may wish to avoid the Election Day crowds, and there is no excuse needed to vote early in person. Just make sure to bring a valid photo ID with you to the voting locations.
There are two Early Voting locations in St. Joseph County: the County City Building (227 W. Jefferson Blvd) in South Bend, and the County Services Building (219 Lincolnway West) in Mishawaka.
Early Voting begins Tuesday, Oct 6th and continues through noon on Monday, November 2nd.
Here is a quick run-down of days and times for easy reference:
Tues Oct 6 to Fri Oct 9 – 8-4:30
Mon Oct 12 to Fri Oct 16 – 8-4:30
Mon Oct 19 to Fri Oct 23 – 8-4:30
Sat Oct 24 – 8-4:00
Sun Oct 25 – noon-4:00
Mon Oct 26 to Fri Oct 30 – 8-4:30
Sat Oct 31 8-4:00
Sun Nov 1 noon-4:00
Mon Nov 2 – 8-noon
Option 3: Vote by Traveling Board
The Traveling Board consists of two poll workers who bring a ballot to your home, assist you in filling out your ballot, and return it to election officials.
To be eligible to vote by Traveling Board you must be either ill or injured, caring for a homebound person on Election Day, or be a voter with a disability whose polling location is not accessible. If you qualify, submit an application by noon on Monday November 2nd.
Option 4: Vote In-Person on Election Day
The 2020 General Election is on Tuesday, November 3rd from 6am to 6pm. There will be 36 voting locations around St. Joseph County. For more information, visit the Voter Portal (https://indianavoters.in.gov/). Make sure to bring a valid photo ID when you visit the polls!
**DID YOU KNOW? As of August 2020, 38 states and the District of Columbia have permitted early voting.
Here are a list of important dates to remember when preparing to vote:
October 5th – voting registration ENDS
October 6th – early voting (absentee-in-person) BEGINS
October 22nd – application deadline for voting by mail
November 2nd at noon – early voting ENDS
November 2nd at noon – application deadline for voting by traveling board
November 3rd – Election Day
**DID YOU KNOW? In the 2016 General Election only 58% of registered Hoosier voters cast ballots.
Stay Safe in Public Places
It is important to follow the CDC recommendations for prevention of illness when you must be in enclosed public areas.
The CDC recommends these prevention methods:
Wash your hands
Avoid close contact with others (stay 6 feet apart)
Cover your mouth and nose with a mask
Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
Wash and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
Monitor your health daily and don’t go out in public with any symptoms
Have any other questions?
If you have any other questions, here is contact information for:
the Election Board:
St Joseph County Clerk
101 S Main St
South Bend, IN 46601-1871
and the Voter Registration Office:
St Joseph County Voter Registration
227 W. Jefferson Blvd
County City Building, 4th Floor
South Bend, IN 46601-1871