FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Primary elections are happening on Tuesday in Fort Wayne to elect the next mayor, city council members and city clerk.
With these elections coming up, some voters may be confused about what they are allowed to vote in based on where they live in Allen County.
Residents who live within the city limits of Fort Wayne are allowed to vote in this year’s municipal elections, but for people who live just outside city limits, they are not able to elect the mayor of Fort Wayne and other city officials.
Andy Downs, director emeritus of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Purdue University Fort Wayne, said anyone who lives in Allen County can vote in county elections, but for municipal elections, you are required to live within the municipality.
“That means if you live in Woodburn or Fort Wayne, you have to be within the city limits,” Downs said. “There are people who live just across the street from the boundaries and they aren’t allowed to vote in the city election and that frustrates some people.”
Voters have always been required in the state of Indiana to live in the political jurisdictions of their respective city or township.
Voters in Allen County who live in unincorporated areas outside city limits come with its own set of requirements. He said residents in those communities only get to vote in even numbered years, when midterm and presidential election years happen, and not in odd numbered years because they don’t live in municipal areas and therefore don’t get to vote in city elections.
“It may seem unfair, but if you think about it, you’re not paying city taxes, you’re not directly affected by what the city government does like police and fire protection unless there’s some mutual aid agreement,” he said. “The election is about people who are directly affected by the body.”
If people in Allen County live nearby the Fort Wayne city limits and want to be able to vote in city elections, they have the ability to have their property annexed. Downs said the problem is not many people want to be annexed into the city because they don’t want to pay the taxes.
Some towns just outside of Fort Wayne like Huntertown and Monroeville are incorporated area and have their own town government. Huntertown though doesn’t hold its elections the same year as Fort Wayne does.
“New Haven and Monroeville have their elections this years just like Fort Wayne,” he said. “The vast majority of municipalities in Indiana hold its elections in odd numbered years, right before presidential elections.”
For people who want to know what elections they can vote in, visit indianavoters.com to check your voting status.