Teacher offers voter registration advice

April 6 is deadline for registering to vote in May primary


Indiana voter website

The Indiana voter website provides information for upcoming elections, including the option to register to vote on line.

Toby Bradshaw, Reporter

For students who will be 18 on or before the next general election on Nov. 3, the deadline to register to vote in the May primary election is fast approaching.

Mrs. Jill Twilleager, who teaches social studies and coaches the State champion We the People team, said, “(I) always watched (my) parents go and vote. They always instilled in me that it is important to vote, even though we never really talked about who they voted for.”

Twilleager said, Voting is important in the American system of government. At the root of the system is a democracy.” Twilleager continued, Its based on what the people want, what the people say. If the people dont vote, then therefore the government cant function.”

When you mention an election, many Americans may think of the presidential election in November. However, the election that leads up to this is also extremely important. According to Twilleager, “The primaries help us choose who the candidates will be in the general election. For instance, we see lots of Democrats wanting to run for president. But then that will be narrowed down to the one candidate we see in November on the ballot.”

The purpose of the primary election in May is for each major party, the Republicans and Democrats, to choose their candidates for the November general election. That does mean that primary voters do have to declare a party, either Democrat or Republican, when they vote in May, and those voters are limited to selecting candidates for each office from their declared party.

Voters who cast ballots in May do not have to be 18; anyone can vote who turns 18 or on before the November general election.

Twilleager said, “Each state gets to determine when their primary will be. (For example), the caucus in Iowa (was) Feb. 3, (while) Indiana doesnt participate in their primary until Tuesday, May 5.

However, in order to be able to vote by this time, Twilleager said, “You must be registered at least 30 days before to vote in the primaries. This means that in indiana, you must be registered by April 6.

Furthermore, Twilleager said, “In indiana, they make registering to vote easy. All you need to register is a state identification card or a state drivers license. You go to indianavoters.in.gov. That website is also very important because its the place you can go to find out the location where you will be able to vote and find out who will be on the ballot.” The whole process to register should only take about five minutes, she said.

Twilleager said, “You can also apply for an absentee ballot (at the website) which would allow you to vote from school,” referring to college students who are away from home but want to cast a ballot in November.

The social studies teacher also reminded students about the misconception regarding the age requirement. She said, “The rule is that you have to be 18 by the general election, Tuesday, Nov. 3. You can vote in the primaries as long as you are 18 by the general election.”

According to Twilleager, one of the most important things you can do is to be an informed voter. Twilleager said, “Make sure, prior to going to the polls, you know who will be on the ballot and what their policies are. Make sure you dont just vote for a party or a name but for what they stand for.”

It’s up to each individual how much research they will do before voting. Twilleager said, “Everyone decides how much it will take to be educated.”

The first time someone votes can be an important and defining moment when someone is growing up. Twilleager said, “I remember going to vote in 1998. That to me  felt more adult than getting my drivers license.”