Index shows highs and lows of Hoosier civic engagement

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — A new study shows Indiana is seeing positives and negatives when it comes to civic engagement. The fourth edition of the Indiana Civic Index, which studied data from the past eight years, says the state improved in areas such as volunteering, however Indiana continues to lag in voter registration and turnout.

The index shows the Hoosier state continues to rank among the bottom 10 of all states in voting and bottom third in voter registration. While data from the 2018 midterm elections show Indiana saw some positive moves, the index shows there is still significant room for improvement.

“However, the Index also shows Indiana’s residents are active participants in their communities and engage at high rates in a variety of volunteer, family, group and nonelectoral activities,” the Indiana Bar Foundation, one of the partners in the study, said in a news release. “Hoosiers rank second in the country in sharing their views on social, political and local issues online and rank eighth in frequently reading, watching or listening to news and information on these issues.”

The index provides two recommendations it says will help boost civic engagement in Indiana.

The first recommendation calls for the creation of a civic education task force. The foundation said the task force will “study methods of instruction, programs and educational outcomes to improve civic education opportunities for all ages and prepare specific policy recommendations to improve civic education.”

The second recommendation calls for the implementation of a concerted, statewide campaign to encourage all eligible Hoosiers to register and vote. The index shows Indiana would need to improve voter turnout by 20% to move into the top ten of states, which would also require approximately 500,000 additional voters in 2020.

The Indiana Civic Index is the result of a partnership among Indiana University Northwest, the Indiana Bar Foundation, and the nonprofit Indiana Citizen Education Foundation Inc., among others.

You can view the full Indiana Civic Index by clicking here.