Voter Turnout Up in Town Elections and First Test of New Photo I.D. Law at Polls Goes Smoothly
Contact: AJ Freeney-Ruiz
Indianapolis, IN - Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita announces the results of elections held in Winfield, Cambridge City and Montezuma. Voter turnout actually increased significantly from numbers seen in previous town elections in Montezuma and Cambridge City. Montezuma more than tripled its turnout from the 2001 election, and Cambridge city saw an almost 20% increase in turnout. The three town elections in Indiana last week also provided the first test of Indiana's new photo I.D. law for voting at the polls. Typically an off-year for elections in Indiana, Winfield held a special election on the question of whether to add two additional town council seats, and town council elections in Cambridge City and Montezuma were the result of a special exception granted to each by the state legislature.
Rokita personally talked to workers and voters at the polling location in Winfield, and posted staff members at all polling locations to conduct surveys regarding voter experiences under the new law. Observations were similar in all three towns where voters were entering the polling places with IDs in hand. Upon exiting the chute, voters were asked two basic questions: first, whether they were asked to provide photo I.D. prior to voting, and second, how they heard about the new photo I.D. requirement. All surveyed voters stated that they had been asked to provide photo I.D.
"I am pleased that 100% of the voters surveyed indicated that they were asked to provide photo I.D.," Rokita said. "This indicates to our office that our County Election Administrators, Town Election Administrators, and Poll Workers were well trained and did a good job of implementing the photo I.D. law."
In Montezuma, approximately 35% of voters were unaware of the new law; however, all of these voters indicated that they thought such a law already existed and were prepared to show photo I.D. regardless. Similar results were seen in Cambridge City and Winfield where fewer than 15% of the voters in both towns were unaware of the new law but indicated they thought such a requirement existed.
Most voters who were aware of the new law indicated that they learned of the requirement through public service announcements produced by the Secretary of State's office, coverage in local newspapers, and via a direct mail postcard also produced and distributed by the Secretary of State's office.
All voters who were surveyed were able to provide sufficient photo I.D. to satisfy the new requirement, and none were required to leave the polling place to obtain photo I.D. prior to voting or were required to cast a provisional ballot as a back-up measure for failure to produce proper photo I.D.
The Secretary of State's office noted that one voter in Cambridge City apparently indicated to local media that she was turned away and not allowed to cast a provisional ballot in violation of the new law. The Secretary of State's office indicated the poll inspector responsible did not attend training sessions for local poll-workers and officials conducted by the Secretary of State's office and that this particular anomaly is being closely examined in an effort to prevent future occurrences. "Though no election is perfect, every effort must be taken to protect the rights of all voters," Rokita said.
"Overall, our staff experienced overwhelming support for the photo I.D. law," Rokita said. "We saw voters repeatedly state that it was about time we had a law like this. We had voters give us the thumbs-up sign [when asked about the law] and even hug one of our surveyors. I think it is safe to say that this first test of the photo I.D. law went extremely well. There is still much to do and we will continue to educate voters about this requirement."
For more information and results from the 2005 town elections, please visit the Secretary of State's website at http://www.sos.in.gov/ and click on "INvotes."