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Voter registration gets in gear

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PREP FOR PRIMARIES:From left, Grant County Clerk Carolyn Mowery, Second Deputy Clerk of Registration Liz Tedder, Voter Registration Clerk Sharyn Sherron, and Election Deputy Kathy Foy proof ballots for the Republican and Democratic primary in the Election Office at the Grant County Courthouse on Tuesday.
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VOTE!:Posters outside of the Election Office at the Grant County Courthouse encourage voters to register.

BY Kaitlin Gebby - kgebby@chronicle-tribune.com

The Marion Public Library has opened its doors to residents who want to register to vote for the upcoming primaries.

Until March 28, MPL will help anyone complete a voter registration application for free at their circulation desk, according to Librarian Michelle Morgan.

Library Director Mary Eckerle said MPL has offered the service for six years, and continues to do so as a central gathering place in the community.

“We are a public place and are community minded, and the library is a great venue for voter registration and absentee ballot forms,” Eckerle said.

According to data provided by Kathy Foy, election deputy Grant County Election Office, around 43,500 residents in the county are currently registered to vote, which is down from the nearly 50,000 registered voters in 2014.

A 2016 census reported 66,900 residents live in Grant County, meaning about 65 percent of the population has the ability to vote in the upcoming local primary election.

In the 2014 primary, data recorded about 13,680 votes cast from local residents, less than 30 percent of Grant County’s total population compared to the 51 percent who voted in the 2016 presidential election.

Foy said she’d be happy to see more people come out to vote in the upcoming primaries for elected officials who deal with issues in the local community.

Morgan said the library has advertised this voter registration with a sign in their lobby and one participant has taken advantage so far. There are several ways one can register to vote in Indiana, one being in person with a physical application and signature. Many register at license branches when renewing identification cards, but voters can also register online.

There is a voter registration portal on in.gov that lists voter eligibility in Indiana and also provides information on voting location, registration status and how to request absentee ballots.

Voters in Indiana are eligible to cast ballots in the upcoming primary on May 8 if they are both a U.S. citizen and a resident of Indiana, are or will be at least 18 years old on or before the next general election, and are not currently in prison after being convicted of a crime.

In order to be eligible for registration, voters must live in the precinct where they are voting for at least 30 days prior to the election.

The deadline for voter registration is April 9.