voting has changed in Indiana and this November Hoosiers should take note
before going to the polls.
Secretary of State’s Office is alerting Hoosiers that they will still be
able to cast a straight ticket on Nov. 8, but that vote will not count for
any individual candidate for county council or town council at-large.
Voters now need to
select each candidate they wish to elect for at-large county council and
town council seats.
“Earlier this year,
the General Assembly changed the law to clarify and strengthen voter intent
in Indiana,” said State Secretary Connie Lawson. “In at-large races there
were times when voters cast straight ticket ballots and then marked
additional at-large candidates. Sometimes, these voters had over voted,
which the law has never allowed.”
voters did not follow ballot instructions when voting straight party and
chose to split the ticket by marking both a straight party ticket vote in
combination with individual candidates in partisan races.
The new law
eliminates this ambiguity in multi-member races and provides clarity in
order to protect voter intent. As with school board elections and votes on
public questions, the straight party function does not cast a straight party
vote in these races.
The new law does
not change how the straight party ticket functions in any other ballot race.
An example of this
change would be in a town council race featuring three candidates for party
A and one candidate for party B. A voter decides to vote straight ticket for
party A which would cast a vote for all three A candidates in this race.
Then this voter
decides to cast a vote for the B party candidate in addition to their
straight ticket vote.
Indiana law prior to 2016, the votes for party A would not count as an over
vote would have occurred. Under the new law, the vote for party A candidates
will be counted.
In addition to
candidate and voter education efforts by the counties, voters will also be
notified of the change in the law at the polls. The new law allows the
county election board to print voting system instruction either on the
ballot or in the voting booth.