As Election Day draws near, voters across the country will take the steps necessary to ensure they can cast their ballot.
In Indiana, the biggest step taken is making sure Photo Identification Cards (Photo ID) are accurate.
To do this, residents will go to their local Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) to update addresses and names, but it takes more than just walking through the door to get this done.
Starting in 2010, the BMV initiated the SecureID program, in part, to comply with recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, as well as state and federal regulations for further protection against identity theft.
However, a side effect of implementing this program is it makes the process of obtaining or updating a Photo ID (driver's license/ID card), which is necessary to vote in Indiana, all the more tedious.
When applying for a new or updated driver's license or ID card, the following original documents must be presented:
* One document proving your identity (birth certificate, passport, etc.), and
* One document proving your Social Security number (Social Security card, W-2 form, 1099 form or pre-printed pay stub), and
* One document proving your lawful status in the United States (birth certificate, Certificate of Naturalization issued by the Department of Homeland Security, etc.), and
* Two documents proving your Indiana residency (bank statement, computer-generated bill, voter registration card, etc).
A full list of acceptable documents is available at area BMV license branch locations and online at http://www.in.gov/bmv/files/SecureID_Doc....
In addition, if your current legal name differs compared to your birth certificate or lawful status document, legal proof of the name chance must be provided as well with an original or certified copy of a marriage license, divorce decree or court order.
Those who are unsure if their current Photo ID is sufficient to cast a ballot on Election Day, can use the following checklist to see if it meets the necessary requirements:
* The ID must display a photo of the voter,
* The name on the ID must conform to the name on the voter's registration record (ex. Bob would be an acceptable version of Robert),
* With few exceptions, the ID must contain an expiration date and either be current or have expired at some point since the most recent General Election (Nov. 2, 2010).
Acceptable exceptions include Military ID's with an expiration date of "INDEF," and Photo ID's issued by the United States Department of Defense, a branch of the uniformed services, the Merchant Marine or the Indiana National Guard, which have no expiration date, and
* The ID must be issued by the State of Indiana or United States government. In most cases a passport is also sufficient.
As part of the SecureID program, an official license or ID card will be mailed out within 10 business days of the visit to the BMV.
However, this does not prevent voters from casting a ballot should they wait until the last minute to renew or update their ID.
BMV license branches will have extended hours the day prior to the election (8:30 a.m.-8 p.m.), and on Election Day (6 a.m.-7 p.m.), and the interim license or ID card the voter receives until the official ID comes in the mail will suffice, as long as it meets all the requirements of the VoterID law.
To request a voter registration application (before Oct. 9) or absentee ballot application, contact the Clay County Election Office at 448-9023.
Important Election Dates
* Oct. 9 -- Deadline to file a voter registration application and start of early voting (Clay County Courthouse, Room 211, 8 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m., Monday-Friday),
* Oct. 27 and Nov. 3 (Saturdays) -- Early voting open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.)
* Oct. 29 -- Deadline to file absentee application to vote by mail,
* Oct. 29-Nov. 2 -- Extended early voting hours (8 a.m.-noon and 1-6 p.m.),
* Nov. 5 (at Noon) -- End of early voting and deadline to file absentee voting application to vote by traveling board, and
* Nov. 6 -- Election Day (Polls open from 6 a.m.-6 p.m.).