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Are You Ready to Vote?

by Tammy Venable on November 3, 2014

Passed during the 2005 legislative session, Indiana’s Voter ID Law requires Indiana residents to present a photo ID before casting a ballot at the polls on Election Day. Since its enactment, the photo ID law has been successfully used in several local, state, and federal elections.

To be acceptable for voting purposes, an ID must meet the following four (4) criteria. The ID must:
1. Display the voter's photo.
2. Display the voter's name, which must conform to the name on the voter registration record (an explanation of acceptable name variation follows).
3. Display an expiration date that is either current or expired no earlier than the date of the last Indiana General Election (in this case, November 6, 2012). However, a document issued by the U.S. Department of Defense, a branch of the uniformed services, the Merchant Marine, the Indiana National Guard, or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that otherwise complies with these requirements is not required to include an expiration date, or may state that the document has an indefinite expiration date.
4. Issued by an agency of the State of Indiana or the U.S. government.  

Generally, an Indiana driver's license, Indiana photo ID card, U.S. Passport or military ID is sufficient. Exemptions exist for the indigent, those with a religious objection to being photographed and for elderly or disabled individuals living in state-licensed facilities where a precinct polling location is also located.

Persons with limited incomes, those with religious objections and those who forget to bring adequate identification to the polls may cast a provisional ballot at the polls without photo identification. Individuals voting absentee-in-person (sometimes called "early voting") at a county election office must have an acceptable ID. However, a voter could vote without an ID if they can affirm by sworn affidavit at that time that they cannot afford an ID or have a religious objection to being photographed.

Persons voting absentee-by-mail are not required to show a photo ID (under the rationale that a photo would do nothing to prove identification without the person also being there for comparison). Absentee balloting-by-mail is available to anyone who meets the required criteria. Voters who qualify to vote absentee-by-traveling board, including the home bound, are not required to show photo ID (For more information on the absentee ballot process and traveling boards, please see page 12).

The name on the photo ID must conform to the name on the voter registration record, however, the name does not have to be an identical match. For example, common nicknames for first names or substitute middle names for a given first name qualify under the statute. Also, initials as a substitute for a first or middle name are an acceptable variation.

Voters who have changed their name due to marriage, adoption or divorce may rely on Indiana's long-standing change of name procedures. Indiana allows a voter to provide the current version of their name by simply writing their new name on the precinct poll list next to their current entry (see IC 3-7-41). 

Voters can also update their voter registration information at the polling site by using the VRG - 4/12 form. This form is available at the polls and allows a voter who has either moved less than 30 days before the election or moved anytime within the same county and congressional district to vote one (1) final time at their previous precinct. Voters are required to provide their new address on the form which will lead to their voter registration being updated after the election. 

State law requires that the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) provide free photo identification to citizens who do not already have a valid photo ID that meets state requirements for voting. For additional information, please visit

All BMV locations that normally issue driver licenses and ID Cards will have extended hours (8:30 AM to 8:00 PM) on Monday, the day before the election. All BMV locations will also be open on Election Day from 6:00 A.M to 7:00 PM.

From 2006 through 2014, the BMV has issued over 1,608,500 free photo-ID cards that may be used for voting purposes. In calendar year 2013, 201,827 photo-ID cards were issued and in 2014, 169,773 photo-ID cards have been issued. 

Identification card applicants who are 65 years or older and can attest that they have never been issued a birth certificate because their birth was never recorded with a state office of vital statistics may present other forms of identification as a primary document, along with the necessary secondary document, for an Indiana identification card. 

As of November 3, 2014, approximately 209,846 Indiana voters have been mailed or have voted via an absentee ballot. To date, approximately 34% of those voting absentee have voted by mail and approximately 61% have voted absentee in-person.

Voters can call 1-866-IN-VOTE for individual assistance now through Election Day (toll free: 1-866-461-8683).

To find out who is on the ballot in your precinct, click here.


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