TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI)- Voting in elections is our civic duty, but Hoosiers seem to be lacking when it comes to showing up to the polls.
"It is trending horribly downward the last for cycles increasingly smaller amounts even as we have a larger number on the roles,” said Mike Smith who has worked the polls in Tippecanoe county for 38 years.
However, those increasing numbers on the registration rolls can be deceiving.
"With Purdue, you have students who come and go and they don't always cancel,” said Julie Roush the Tippecanoe county Clerk. “So you are going to have a larger voter registration than we actually have. So, it's a skewed number first of all. So if they don't cancel they still sit there."
While Purdue plays a role in low turnouts,election board worker Mike Smith says there's a disconnect locally as well.
"The feedback I get from voters is that there's not a lot of choices there's a lot of uncontested races,” said Smith. “They don't feel like their vote can count because they are in districts that are overwhelmingly one party of the other.”
But that disconnect isn't just in Tippecanoe county. According to the 2019 Indiana Civic Health index, Hoosiers rank 12th in the national for frequently discussing politics and social issues. However, it's 37th in the country for voter registration and turnout.
"There is a disconnect between how we perceive ourselves as Hoosiers and how we actually act on our civic impulse,” said Bill Moreau a board member with the Indiana Bar Association. “We are going to try to figure out why there is that gap."
Due to voter numbers continuing to fall in Indiana, a task force is being created to help educate Hoosiers more about civic engagement. The task force is expected to be formed next year with plans to present recommendations to the General Assembly before the 2021 session. To read the entire Civic Health Index click here.