Indiana residents have through Monday, Oct. 5, to register to vote for the 2020 General Election, and groups like the League of Women Voters of Knox County have increased their efforts to ensure locals are ready to go to the polls.

Local LWV co-president Lori Graham said she and other league members started the big push last week — aligning their efforts with National Voter Registration Day.

Last week the LWV set up a booth alongside the popular food trucks at the River Walk, encouraging voters to register or check their registration status.

“We usually try to go into high school government classes and to things like Festival Latino and other events where we can set up a booth, but COVID has kind of set things back,” Graham said.

With the pandemic prompting the cancellation of most of this year’s festivals and large events, Graham said the group thought the weekly food truck crowds the most logical place to reach out to potential voters.

Graham says the non-partisan organization’s goal is to gather and present relevant information to the public.

“Our purpose is to inform,” she said.

Too, she says, voting is the primary way the American people can be heard.

“Every vote counts, and you can especially see that in past elections that were very close,” she said, adding that whether or not we are particularly fond of the candidates, “we get to choose — we elect those people.”

Knox County election official and clerk David Shelton echoed the sentiment, saying, “If you’re not happy with the way something is going, vote — be it for or against a candidate.”

Shelton says, between the options of early voting, absentee ballots and election day itself, there’s no reason Knox County should ever see anything lower than 75% voter turnout.

“Everyone should be proud and willing to vote,” he said.

Though Shelton knows it’s unlikely to have 75% of registered voters cast their ballots this year, he does anticipate the highly contentious presidential election will draw at least a 50% turnout.

Of the 1,600 absentee ballots Shelton’s office has sent out thus far, more than a third of them have already been returned.

While the number of requested mail-in ballots is substantially lower than originally anticipated, Shelton does expect large crowds for early voting.

This year early voting begins on Oct. 6 and will be at the old sally port jail at 135 N. 8th St.

Early voters can cast ballots from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday — Friday and 8:00 a.m. to noon on Saturdays Oct. 24 and 31.

The League of Women Voters will again be assisting area residents with voter registration from 5 — 7 p.m. Monday at Gregg Park.

To register to vote at Monday’s event, you must be a U.S. citizen, 18 years or older (by November 3) and present a valid picture ID.

For additional information about voter registration, contact the county clerk’s office at 812-895-4927

To check your own voter registration status, or to see the full 2020 election ballot, visit indianavoters.in.gov.

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