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Indiana Polls Close Earlier Than Most Other States

bloomington-early-voting-11-05-2018-5307.mxf.00_00_10_10.still001.jpg

Early Voters in Monroe County (Tyler Lake, WTIU/WFIU News)

As part of our Inquire Indiana series, we want to hear your questions about the Hoosier state – then we’ll work to find the answers.

Elizabeth Venstra of Solsberry wanted to know why polls close at 6pm in Indiana, and how that compares to other states. She also asked what it would take to change those times. 

Before heading out to vote on Election Day, remember that the polls in Indiana close at 6pm. But have you ever wondered why 6 p.m. is the cut off time?

Venstra has, even though she always makes it to the polls, she worries that they close too early for some voters.

“I feel like it makes it more difficult to vote for a lot of people than it needs to be,” she says.

The times the polls open and close are written into state law, in Indiana its 6am to 6pm. That’s been the case since at least 1890.

While Indiana has one of the earliest poll closing times in the nation, there have been no serious efforts in recent years to change that.

Polls in Ohio close at 7:30 p.m. and they close at 8 p.m. in at least 15 other states.

The office of the Secretary of State conducts elections in Indiana, but officials there say they don’t have any control over when the polls close.

Andy Downs, the Director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics, says it’s ultimately up to the state legislature.

“If anybody would like to change that they will need to convince 51 members of the house and 26 members of the senate that there’s a reason to change it," Downs says.

Hoosiers will be able to decide some of the members they send to the statehouse, by voting today, as long as they make it to the polls before 6pm.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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