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Experts Say Residents May Opt Out Of Voting This Year

Marjorie Hershey says the United States makes voting more difficult by requiring registration as much as a month in advance. (Photo Credit: WFIU/WTIU News)

Hoosiers are getting ready for the 2018 midterm elections.

Early voting for this year’s primary elections began this week, and candidates are participating in forums around the state. But as the election process begins, experts say some residents may opt not to participate.

Marjorie Hershey is a professor and associate chair of the Indiana University’s Department of Political Science. She says the United States makes voting more difficult by requiring registration as much as a month in advance.

“Most democracies don’t require their citizens to register in order to vote,” Hershey says. “They have a list of their citizens, and you just show up at the polls.”

Hershey says the interest in this year’s elections feels higher than in previous elections. She says it’s more common in midterm elections for citizens to vote against what they don’t like, rather than in support of what they do. And she says the current political climate is encouraging that pattern.

But Hershey says even with that in mind, the turnout for younger voters may not be much different from previous years.

“We have to be careful not to generalize too far,” Hershey says. “Most college students, and to an even greater extent most non-college students of the same age, won’t vote in 2018, and won’t vote in 2020 either.”

Indiana’s primary elections take place May 8. Those votes will determine which candidates appear on the ballot for the midterm elections in November.

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