At a statehouse rally last weekend, three days after Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, thousands of opponents of the controversial law used it as a rallying cry for voter registration.
Rally co-organizer and Indiana national committeeman for the Young Democrats of America, Jack Blanchard says voting is the way to make change.
“We think that the best way to ensure equal rights for everyone in the great state of Indiana is to make sure that everybody votes and that way the right people are elected in the first place,” says Blanchard.
In general, voting trends in Indiana are on a downswing. In the 2014 midterm election Indiana ranked last in the nation with only 28 percent of eligible voters casting a ballot.
Matthew Kochevar, co-legal counsel at the Indiana Election Division, says numerous factors could play into Indiana’s low voter turnout.
“Anywhere from voter apathy, some feel that there’s not enough information to make an informed decision, some just choose not to vote,” says Kochevar.
At the beginning of the year 4.5 million out of an eligible 6.5 million Hoosiers were registered to vote. An updated statewide number wasn’t available for this story, but Marion County has recorded nearly 6,900 newly registered people since January.
Some voting advocates recommend policy changes that could improve the registration process and increase voter participation. Those changes could include allowing Hoosiers to register on Election Day, making early voting more accessible, establishing vote centers or satellite voting.
Voter registration will begin again May 19 for the November Election.