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Join the 'Absen-tea Party'! This is part two in a series of three blog posts for IU School of Medicine students to learn about how voting is key to a healthy community. 

All about absentee ballots for IU School of Medicine Learners

Woman holding up sign that says Vote!

Absentee Ballots are popular alternatives to voting in person on Election Day, so gather round for this ‘Absen-Tea Party’ (we love election puns) to learn more!

Laws on absentee ballots differ across states, but generally there are two steps to voting by mail (one form of absentee voting):

  1. Submit an application requesting an absentee ballot
  2. Then submitting your absentee ballot

Individuals from outside of Indiana should visit the U.S. Vote Foundation’s website to query your state’s deadlines as dates and times vary. Note: States other than Indiana sometimes require that absentee ballots are notarized.

Indiana Restrictions

Indiana requires a reason for individuals to vote absentee by mail, so please see the bottom section to make sure you qualify.

Indiana Deadline for Absentee Vote By Mail:

  1. Submit an application requesting an absentee ballot - must be received by your county election board by October 22 at 11:59pm.
  2. Submit your absentee ballot – 12:00pm (noon) on Election Day (Nov 3rd) to your county election board.

Please note: Applications and ballots postmarked by their respective deadlines but received by the Election Board after the deadline date cannot be processed.

Also, due to delays in the U.S. Postal Service, there is anticipated delay of mail that may affect absentee ballots. We strongly recommend that you submit paperwork as soon as possible!

How to Apply to Vote by Absentee in Indiana

Complete the Online Form!

If you are already registered and your profile is on the state’s website then you just need to do the following:

  • Click the “Check Voting Status” and type in your first and last name, birthdate, and county you may have registered in.
  • On the right side of the webpage is the button “Vote By Mail”. Complete this very short form and click submit!

Mail in a Form!

Do I Need My ID To Vote By Mail in Indiana?

A voter applying for an absentee-by-mail ballot does not need to present proof of identification. However, a first-time voter in Indiana who registered to vote by mail and did not provide proof of residency will be asked to include that evidence with their absentee balloting materials. This can be a state-issued ID where the address matches their registration, but can also be a bank statement, utility bill, etc.

Qualifications to be able to Vote Absentee in Indiana

  1. You have a specific, reasonable expectation that you will be absent from the county on Election Day during the entire 12 hours that the polls are open (6 am until 6 pm).
    1. Example: Students on clinical rotations may be busy this entire time frame, especially if they are in a hospital outside their home county. Phase 1 students who live outside of Marion County but will be on campus all day are included in this.
  2. You have a disability.
  3. You are at least 65 years of age.
  4. You will have official election duties outside of your voting precinct.
  5. You are scheduled to work at your regular place of employment during the entire 12 hours that the polls are open.
  6. You will be confined due to illness or injury or you will be caring for an individual confined due to illness or injury during the entire 12 hours that the polls are open.
  7. You are prevented from voting because of a religious discipline or religious holiday during the entire 12 hours that the polls are open.
  8. You are a participant in the state's address confidentiality program.
  9. You are a member of the military or a public safety officer.
  10. You are a "serious sex offender" as defined in Indiana Code 35-42-4-14(a).
  11. You are prevented from voting due to the unavailability of transportation to the polls.

Finally, it is important to know your rights, per the Indiana Secretary of State’s Indiana Absentee Voter's Bill of Rights.  


The IU School of Medicine Voter Guide has answers to all the elections questions you may have. Want to ask someone directly? IUPUI has an Instagram ‘voter hotline’ that any IUSM learner can use. Visit them at @iupuijagsvote. You can also call your county election board.

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Niki Messmore

Niki Messmore, M.S.Ed, is the Director of Medical Service Learning with over 16 years of professional experience in nonprofits and higher education. Her work is centered around connecting medical students to each other and to their communities. She has oversight of service learning programs, directs the IUSM AmeriCorps program, supports student activities, manages the Common Read Experience, and much more. Niki has been recognized at a national and local level for her work in student affairs, awarded over $600,000 in grant funding during her IU tenure, and has extensively presented her work through conferences and publications.

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.