Note to BMV: This is how the voting age works

If we had believed the workers at the Waynedale Bureau of Motor Vehicles, my son would not be voting in the primary next week.

They kept insisting that 17-year-olds cannot vote in the primary if they turn 18 before the general election in November.

But the following is from the Indiana Secretary of State’s Web site:

Q: I’m turning 18 right before the election. When can I register? When can I vote?

If you are turning 18 before or on the next general election date, you can register. You can vote in both the primary and general election, even if you are not 18 on the primary election date. However, you will not be eligible to vote on school board members, political party precinct committeemen, or political party state convention delegates elected at the primary election. (emphasis mine)

Are BMV workers not trained on the rules of voter eligibility? How many other eligible voters have they turned away?

Voter Turnout…

… needs to be higher than this if we’re to have a good city! Thanks to Charles Langley for providing the numbers.

First District:
11,669 voters on Election Day
Total Residents: 42,164
Percentage of Residents who Voted: 27.7%

Second District:

9,696 voters on Election Day
Total Residents: 41,109
Percentage of Residents who Voted: 23.6%

Third District:
8,812 voters on Election Day
Total Residents: 42,888
Percentage of Residents who Voted: 20.5%

*Fourth District:
10,794 voters on Election Day
Total Residents: 41,593
Percentage of Residents who Voted: 26.0%

Fifth District:
6,225 voters on Election Day
Total Population: 41,749
Percentage of Residents who Voted: 14.9%

Sixth District:
4,646 voters on Election Day
Total Population: 42,114
Percentage of Residents who Voted: 11.0%

Average Percentage of District Residents Voting: 20.6%

* Denotes first city election for Aboite residents.

Rachel commented over on Charles’ post that this doesn’t reflect non-citizens and those under 18. True, and those numbers would be nice to see, also (I think the newspapers ran them). But still, this comparison is not without value: an overwhelmingly small percentage of the total population is calling the shots. Sure, the outcome might have been the same had more people voted. But that doesn’t change the fact that 8 out of 10 people you pass on the street (or in your car) on a daily basis didn’t exercise the right many around the world still die to gain. Amazingly disappointing.

A maddening map of the precincts

countygis.jpgHas anyone ever successfully used the Allen County GIS system to determine his own precinct or polling place?

I appreciate the effort that went into gathering all the information and pulling it into one system. But the county system is a classic example of enterprise software being written for programmers rather than for end users.

If you’re like me, you just jump into a site like the county’s, thinking that you’ll figure it out as you go along. But see all those folders down the sidebar in the picture? Some things in there are already selected, which is why you see so many colored lines in your map.

Good luck finding all the checkboxes that go with the renegade lines.

Next, you may try the instructions for finding your election information. This actually works, as far as it goes, although it does take nine steps.

But the big problem is that you get the address of your polling place, but all of the polls remain marked on the map. So, if you’re like me, and you’re unfamiliar with many Fort Wayne streets and buildings, you could end up at a closer, but incorrect, polling place.


My polling place is not the VFW, a polling place actually located inside my precinct. The VFW is a polling place for a different precinct. My polling place is located two precincts to the north at the Eagles Club — meaning that if you don’t have a car, you have to either get a ride or take public transportation.

Why so far away? I believe it’s because of Americans with Disabilities Act concerns, which are valid as long as everyone has equal access to transportation — and that’s an unlikely prospect in my neighborhood.

A good city features polling places that are easy to find and, at least in the urban core, easy to get to by foot. Let’s hope better polling places — and maps — arrive before the next election.