INDIANAPOLIS (WOWO): The newest edition of the Indiana Civic Health Index found that while volunteering, giving and community membership are up, voter registration and turnout were down.
Voter registration in 2018 was just over 65 percent, ranking 37th in the U.S. Voter turnout was lower nationally, coming in at 43rd at just 49 percent. Meanwhile, in 2016, voter registration was just shy of 69 percent and ranked 40th in the country. Turnout that year was at 58 percent, good for 41st in the country.
Meanwhile, Hoosiers are second in the country in sharing their views on social, political and local issues online, and are eight in reading, watching or listening to news and information on those issues. Indiana also ranked 12th in the nation with 44 percent of residents frequently discussing political, societal or local issues with friends or family.
With the data, the study came up with two recommendations for improving civic engagement across the state. The first is to create a civic education task force to look at “methods of instruction, programs, and educational outcomes to improve civic education opportunities for all ages and prepare specific policy recommendations to improve civic education opportunities and programs in Indiana.”
The second recommendation is to increase voter turnout in the state, moving from the bottom 10 to the top 10 in the country. That would mean an increase in voter turnout by 20 percent, or about 500,000 voters in 2020 to achieve that goal.
The study is a partnership between Indiana University Northwest, the Indiana Bar Association, the Indiana Citizen Education Foundation, The Center for Representative Government-Indiana University, the Indiana Supreme Court, IUPUI, the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the National Conference on Citizenship.
You can read the full report here.