Voting Guide for 2023 Local Primaries by League of Women Voters

This voting guide was compiled by Debora Shaw from the League of Women Voters of Bloomington-Monroe County, which has partnered with Limestone Post on a series of articles on civic engagement.

A Quick Look at the May Primary Election

Municipal elections will be held across Indiana this year. It won’t be as busy as next year, with the presidential election, or even 2022 with the midterms. In Monroe County, Bloomington will elect a mayor, city clerk, and common (city) council members; the Town of Ellettsville will elect a clerk/treasurer and representatives to the town council from three wards.

Why a Primary Election?

Primary elections are how political parties choose their candidates for the general election in the fall. Voters are required to declare a party affiliation and will see on the ballot only the candidates in their party. Primary election voters may actually choose the eventual winner of the general election in places where one party’s registered voters greatly outnumber the other’s. Sample ballots will be posted sometime during the week of March 13 at the Monroe County Government Election Central website so you can see if your party has contested races in your precinct.

Register to Vote

In Indiana you must register to vote at least 30 days before primary election day. In 2023, that means by noon on April 3 at the latest. You also must:

  1. Be a citizen of the United States
  2. Have a valid Indiana driver’s license or Indiana State identification card
  3. Be at least 18 years old on or before the next general, municipal, or special election
  4. Have lived in your precinct for at least 30 days before the next general, municipal, or special election
  5. Not be currently imprisoned after being convicted of a crime.

You can register in person at Election Central, 401 W. 7th St. in Bloomington, or you can enter your information to register online at indianavoters.in.gov. This site is available for anyone who has an Indiana driver’s license or Indiana State identification card. Voters can check their registration status at that site, too, as well as find polling places and apply for Vote by Mail.

ID Required

If you vote in person (early or at the polls), you will need an ID issued by the U.S. or Indiana government with:

  1. Your name (the ID name must “conform” to the name on the registration. The two may vary in fullness of the name, use of initials, etc. but should be recognizably the same.) 
  2. Your photograph
  3. An expiration date that is after the date of the last general election (November 8, 2022).

How to Vote

Early in-person voting is available for four weeks (28 days) before the elections. (Indiana calls this “absentee in-person” voting.) In Monroe County you can vote early at Election Operations, the former NAPA building at 302 S. Walnut in Bloomington, at the southwest corner of 3rd and South Walnut streets.

Absentee voting by mail is available only for voters with one of the state’s 11 reasons, which include being absent from the county on Election Day, having a disability, being at least 65 years of age, and being scheduled to work at your regular place of employment during the entire 12 hours that the polls are open. Applications for absentee ballots are due by April 20. You can apply online at indianavoters.in.gov/MVPHome/PrintDocuments.

On Election Day take your government-issued photo ID and vote at your local polling place on Tuesday, May 2, between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Find your polling place at indianavoters.in.gov.

Acceptable reasons, according to state government, to vote by mail in Indiana.

Acceptable reasons, according to state government, to vote by mail in Indiana.


Be Informed

Make the most of your vote — learn about the candidates and issues on the ballot. The League of Women Voters has an online voter guide at VOTE411.org where all registered candidates for an office are invited to respond to the same set of questions. VOTE411 has more information on national and local elections. 

Several community organizations plan to offer forums where candidates will respond to audience questions; CATS (Community Access Television Services) will record many of these. The League of Women Voters has a compiled a list of these forums below or at lwv-bmc.org/forums. 

Have a question about the primary elections, voter registration, or other voting issues? Get in touch with me at [email protected].

Debora Shaw
Debora (Ralf) Shaw is the spokesperson for the League of Women Voters–Bloomington Monroe County and co-chair of the League’s Voter Service Committee. She is a retired IU faculty member; before moving to Bloomington, she worked for the Indiana State Library and the University of Illinois. The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization that works to protect and expand voting rights and ensure everyone is represented in our democracy.