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Election 2012: Things to keep in mind

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When to vote

The polls are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Want to vote early?

Today, you can vote from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at one of the following locations:

The county courthouse, 5 E. Jefferson St., Franklin

Mount Pleasant Christian Church, 381 N. Bluff Road, Greenwood

Trafalgar Public Library, 424 S. Tower St., Trafalgar

On Monday, you can vote at the courthouse from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

What to bring

You’ll need a photo ID issued by the state or federal government to cast a ballot. In most cases, an Indiana driver’s license, Indiana photo ID card, U.S. passport or military ID is sufficient.

What to expect

On Election Day, some vote centers will have as many as nine employees each, and the busiest sites will have 25 voting machines, an increase from the primary election.

More voting machines can be delivered quickly if lines begin to form.

What’s different?

The biggest difference is that voters now can cast ballots anywhere at 22 polling sites across the county. Vote centers replaced the traditional system of voting, where voters cast ballots at a location near their home.

Voters no longer will sign a paper poll book, where poll workers find their name in an alphabetical list. Instead, poll workers will look your name up in a tablet computer and verify you have not already voted. The worker then will select your name, and a receipt will print out, showing your name and precinct. You will need to sign that receipt.

Voters no longer need to sign out when they finish voting. That was done in the past to help track the number of people who voted, but that is no longer necessary.

In the past, one of the biggest concerns on Election Day was when voters were told they were not at the right polling site and needed to go elsewhere to vote. But that won’t happen with vote centers. As long as voters are registered and live in Johnson County, they can vote at any of the vote centers.

Need more information?

Voters can visit the Indiana secretary of state’s voter information portal at indianavoters.com to find information on whether they are registered to vote, how to cast an absentee ballot and the state voter identification law. Voters also can call the state’s hotline from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day at 866-461-8683 to ask questions and report election fraud or accessibility issues.

The secretary of state also has set up a feature called Who’s on Your Ballot on indianavoters.com, where voters can find out information about what offices will be on their ballots.

Keep in mind

Voters should know their precinct number so they can verify they are getting the correct ballot. Your precinct number is printed on the receipt you sign when checking in at the polling site. In the past, poll workers worked in a specific precinct and only had one option for the ballot number they could choose. Now, voters can cast ballots anywhere in the county, requiring poll workers to select each voter’s ballot off a list on the voting machine.

What’s the same?

Voters will cast ballots on the same voting machines as usual. The process of voting will be nearly the same as in past years for voters when they show up at a polling place for early voting or on Election Day.

Changes to voting sites

The number of voting sites has been reduced, from 75 or more in past elections, to 22 vote centers. Election officials tried to pick vote centers that were near or along major routes through the county, were in different areas throughout the county and had enough parking and Internet access.

Each former polling site will have a poster stating where the new vote centers are located.

New names, districts

After the 2010 Census, state officials did a redistricting of state and federal offices. That changed some of Johnson County’s congressional, state House and state Senate districts. Local voters now will vote for one congressional district, instead of three. The county now is represented by three state senators instead of five, and one of the county’s state representative districts also changed. The boundaries of most of the offices that represent Johnson County also changed.

For some, that will mean a new name or a new district number on their ballot. The county also updated precinct boundaries to split those with too many voters. That could mean voters are in a new precinct. But with vote centers, they do not have to go to a polling site connected with their address and can vote anywhere at the county’s 22 vote centers.

Buying alcohol

Due to a change in state law, you can now buy alcohol while the polls are open on Election Day.

Need an ID?

Full-service Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles branches will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday. The branches will process only identification cards and driver’s licenses on those two days. No other license branch services will be offered. To get an identification card, which is free, or a driver’s license, you must bring: Proof of identity, such as a birth certificate or passport. Proof of Social Security, such as a Social Security card, pay stub or W-2. Proof of lawful status, such as a birth certificate or passport. Proof of residency, two documents such as a voter registration card, utility bill or bank statement.

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