Here’s what to know about voting in Indiana with a criminal conviction

EVANSVILLE — Indiana residents convicted of a felony and serving time in jail or jail cannot vote in this year’s general election. But a criminal conviction does not affect a Hoosier’s right to vote once he is released.

And if they haven’t yet been found guilty in court, a remand in Vanderburgh County Jail can’t help but vote either.

That’s especially relevant this year, as two of the biggest races in Vanderburgh County’s elections are for sheriff and district attorney.

Republican Jeff Hales and Democrat Noah Robinson are both vying to lead the jail and the sheriff’s office, while Republican Diana Moers and Democrat Jon Schaefer are seeking to take over the Vanderburgh County District Attorney’s office. Everyone has ideas about how the system works, whether it’s changing certain aspects of it or keeping it in place.

For Vanderburgh County residents who have personally experienced this system, spending a night in the Vanderburgh County Jail or being convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, Indiana law still allows them to make their voices heard in an election.

Here’s what to know about voting with a criminal conviction.

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Who can’t vote in Indiana?

Indiana residents cannot vote while incarcerated for a felony. This includes both criminal offenses and misdemeanors, that is, after a person has been convicted and is actively serving their sentence.

Who can vote in Indiana?

Indiana residents are immediately eligible to vote upon release. The only thing they need to do to regain their right to vote is to ensure that their voter registration is active.

Being on probation or parole does not affect a person’s right to vote in Indiana.

Neither is being in jail awaiting trial. People who have not yet been convicted of a crime, but who are placed in some form of pre-trial detention, can still vote.

Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding said a group is entering the jail to offer eligible inmates the opportunity to vote.

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How to Register to Vote in Indiana

There are several ways to register to vote in Indiana. The deadline for the 2022 general election is October 11.

To register in person or by mail, voters must complete the voter registration form and return it to their local county voter registration office or Indiana electoral division. The form is also available in Spanish.

Residents can also apply in person at the voter registration office or county clerk’s office, or at any licensing branch if they are getting a new driver’s license or ID card.

A person can also register to vote at a public assistance office if they are actively requesting service or assistance.

Residents can visit indianavoters.in.gov, as well. There, voters can register with a valid Indiana driver’s license or Indiana state-issued ID card.

More help understanding voter eligibility

Voters can find Indiana Voters Bill of Rights online at the Indiana Secretary of State website. It is available in Spanish and English.

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