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Women4Change encourages Hoosiers to “get in Good Trouble”

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Women4Change Indiana, alongside ACLU and Common Cause Indiana, spoke out about how Indiana can fight for voter equity at their movie screening and panel discussion on May 8 at the Kan-Kan Cinema.

Women4Change hosted a screening of “John Lewis: Good Trouble” to bring light to voting issues. (Photo/Women4Change).

With a movie called “John Lewis: Good Trouble,” Women4Change provided a powerful message through the late Rep. John Lewis and his story. Lewis was at the heart of the fight for civil rights during his time in office, walking side-by-side with Martin Luther King Jr. at the March on Washington.

The film ended with a quote by Lewis: “You get knocked down and you keep going … We shall overcome.” 

The film preceded a discussion about why voting matters and how voters can truly make a difference.

Dedicated to empowering change and facilitating opportunities to get people to the polls, the event painted a larger picture of the issues Indiana faces when it comes to voter turnouts and voter requirements.

“In 2022, we were ranked 50 out of all 50 states for our voter turnout in Indiana. In the last presidential election, we were 46. We have a real representation problem when we go to the polls,” said Angela Carr Klitzsch, CEO of Women4Change Indiana.

This begs the question, why is Indiana struggling with voter turnout? According to the panelists, it boils down to a handful of reasons.

Sen. Andrea Hunley said has to do with uncontested elections and why Hoosiers think their vote doesn’t matter.

“I think that not having contested elections is a problem,” Hunley said. “People don’t come out to the polls when they don’t feel like there’s a reason to come … We’ve really fallen for this trap that our vote doesn’t matter, and we have to make sure that every single vote matters every single time.”

Another significant problem facing Hoosier voters is gerrymandering, or politically manipulating electoral boundaries to create advantages for one party or another.

“Gerrymandering is the biggest reason [for low voter turnout]. Too many people don’t have a reason to go out to vote because the mapmaker had more influence than the voters do in too many districts in our state,” said Julia Vaughn, executive director of Common Cause Indiana.

Another issue is voter suppression, according to the panelists. According to the Indiana State Government website, Indiana requires a photo ID to vote, making it one of only 18 states to do so.

“We have some of the strictest voter ID laws in the country, so all of these things make it so much more difficult to vote, and when you already maybe feel that your vote doesn’t matter, your voice doesn’t matter, then there’s all these rules you have to follow,” said Samantha Bresnahan, senior advocacy specialist for the ACLU of Indiana. “It can seem like something that’s not worth the sacrifices you might have to make to get to the polls.”

Specifically, Vaughn mentioned House Bill 1264, a bill best described as an “election security” measure to ensure non-citizens do not vote in the state of Indiana. A problem, as Vaughn points out, that has no evidence to confirm its existence.

“We don’t have a problem with non-citizens voting in Indiana. There is absolutely no evidence of it, yet that was the justification of this bill,” Vaughn said. “As citizens, as voters, as Hoosiers, we have to challenge our legislators when they pass voter suppression based on myth, rumor and innuendo.”

Marshawn Wolley, principal at Crossroads Public affairs, agreed. Wolley also wanted to emphasize the need for voters to make the candidates talk about issues rather than just personal attacks.

“I think we want to see better campaigns,” Wolley said. “I think we want to see more forums … I think it is incumbent upon us, when we’re engaging with the candidates, to make them tell us how they’re different from the other person. Make it about real issues.”

While there is a tough road ahead, the panelists agree that there is work to be done. In the statehouse, in work with educating eligible voters, in pushing back against voter suppression legislation, and in more robust voter turnout campaigns, citizens and legislators can work to improve voter turnout in Indiana.

“I know that we’re in this together, what we will talk about here tonight should make you feel hopeful, should make you feel validated in the work that you’re already doing and should make you feel more fired up to continue to do the work because this November, we have to get people out to vote,” Hunley said.

For more information about Women4Change, visit women4changeindiana.org.

Contact Staff Writer Hanna Rauworth at 317.762.7854 or follow her at @hanna.rauworth 

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