Pharos-Tribune

State News

October 14, 2012

Maureen Hayden: Voters face challenges to stay engaged

INDIANAPOLIS — To make sure I could vote in the November election and not fail the standards set by Indiana’s voter ID law, I took a trip to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles a couple of weeks ago to get a new license with my most current address.

I had moved this summer and had forgotten to make the change. (Updating your address is one of the things you can’t do online at the BMV.) A press release from the Indiana Secretary of State’s office, about the Oct. 9 voter registration deadline, prompted me to make the trip to the closest BMV.

It was inconvenient and I whined about it, but it wasn’t too burdensome. I have a car and the BMV branch was just a few miles away.

I would have complained more if I didn’t have easy access to the computer-generated documents with my new address required to make the change, or if I was car-less. Indianapolis, where I live, has a meager bus transportation system and there’s only one BMV branch near the downtown area where I work and live.

Those of you who live in rural counties, with only one or two BMV branches for the whole county and little or no bus transportation, know much better than I do what it means to have to make a trip to the BMV.

This is not a criticism of Indiana’s voter ID law, which requires me to show a government-issued photo identification when I show up to vote.

That’s a more complicated issue for another column. One in which I would have to cite academic studies that have found strict voter ID laws like the one Indiana pioneered in 2005 (and now mimicked by other states) reduce turnout of registered voters, especially among the poor and minorities.

But then I’d also need to explain how it is that voter turnout in Indiana actually went up, from 54.8 percent to 59.1 percent, between the 2004 and 2008 presidential election (when Indiana turned “blue” for Obama.)

My small story is just an acknowledgment of the challenges voters face to stay engaged. There are plenty of others, including the coming tidal wave of TV commercials that will be broadcast by political campaigns over these next few weeks.

The hundreds of thousands of television commercials broadcast by the presidential candidates so far are lopsidedly negative, according to CMAG, an advertising tracking unit at the analysis firm Kantar Media. That’s even more true of the TV commercials run by the outside “super PAC” groups: Those commercials are negative more than 90 percent of the time.

It happens at almost all levels: Last week, I received an email from an organization endorsing state legislative candidates. It called the ones it liked “taxpayer friendly.” It called the ones it didn’t like “political hogs.”

It’s easy to feel repulsed by it and to decide simply to disengage. If you’re feeling that way, I’ll hope you’ll reconsider.

Maybe it helps not to romanticize the past. The much-heralded Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858 — which propelled little-known Senate candidate Abe Lincoln toward fame — had plenty of rough-and-tumble exchanges, including one in which Lincoln called his opponent, Stephen Douglas, an “obstinate animal.”  

No big deal, really, since Lincoln added: “I mean no disrespect.”

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
State News
  • NWS - KT072214 - Ryan Ledbetter mugshot - CLG [Duplicate] Bunker Hill councilman arrested for firing gun BUNKER HILL – A member of the Bunker Hill Town Council was arrested Saturday after police say he broke a no-contact order with his children’s mother and fired a gun inside a trailer park near Peru. Indiana State Police responded to the Woodland Hill

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lowe's plans 1,000-worker Indianapolis call center INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Home-improvement retailer Lowe's says it will open a new call center in Indianapolis that could have up to 1,000 employees in the next couple years. The North Carolina-based retailer announced Tuesday that it would spend about $20

    July 22, 2014

  • 2 men die in separate apparent drownings near Rockville and Morocco ROCKVILLE, Ind. (AP) — State conservation officers say two Indiana men have died in separate apparent drownings. Officers say 29-year-old Terry Johnson of Veedersburg died after divers pulled him Monday from Raccoon Lake near the Parke County town of

    July 22, 2014

  • Former Hartford City councilman sentenced for child molesting HARTFORD CITY (AP) — A former northeastern Indiana city councilman and retired teacher has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on child molesting charges. A Blackford County judge ordered the sentence on Monday against 66-year-old John Adams. He ple

    July 22, 2014

  • 6 Indiana projects get national humanities grants INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Three universities in Indiana have been awarded a total of $1.25 million in grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The endowment announced Monday that Indiana University's Indianapolis branch campus is receiving $1

    July 22, 2014

  • Indiana governor's residence gets honey bee hive INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana's Governor's Residence is getting a bee hive to call its own. First lady Karen Pence was scheduled to unveil a honey bee hive Tuesday morning at the Governor's Residence on Indianapolis' north side. The hive and its bees w

    July 22, 2014

  • Indiana man pleads not guilty to courthouse threat HAMMOND (AP) — A man has pleaded not guilty to federal charges that he threatened to blow up an Indiana courthouse and kill judges and police officers. Twenty-two-year-old Samuel Bradbury of Pine Village entered the plea during a federal court hearin

    July 22, 2014

  • 2 in custody after Greene County man found slain in home SOLSBERRY (AP) — Indiana State Police say two men considered persons of interest have been taken into custody after a Greene County man was found slain in his rural home. Sgt. Curt Durnil says Indianapolis police took 35-year-old Jason Lee Caldwell o

    July 21, 2014

  • Indiana's bills for highway damage face challenge INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A trucking company is asking the state appeals court to limit the Indiana Department of Transportation's authority to sue over damage done to state highways. The challenge is in court as the highway agency is trying to collect mor

    July 21, 2014

  • Downed jet victim was NW Indiana exchange student DEMOTTE (AP) — An Indiana University graduate student's boyfriend who died with her on the downed plane in Ukraine had spent six months in northwestern Indiana as a high school exchange student. Jenny Jonkman says Laurens Van Der Graaff came from the

    July 21, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

The Pence administration continues to cut Indiana agency budgets despite a state surplus of $2 billion. Is this wise management of state funds?

Yes
No
Not sure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.