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May 6, 2014

5 things to know for Indiana primary election day

Eds: With BC-IN--Indiana Primary.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Although there are no competitive statewide races on the ballot, Indiana voters will choose nominees in several congressional and legislative contests when they head to the polls for Tuesday's primary.

Here are five things to know about the election:

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POLL HOURS

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time. Twelve of Indiana's 92 counties observe central time, while the rest are in the eastern time zone. All voters need a state- or federal government-issued photo ID, such as a driver's license or veteran's ID.

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VOTE CENTERS

Sixteen counties are using vote centers this year, which allow voters to cast ballots at a centralized location instead of in a local precinct. Supporters say the vote centers save counties money by reducing the number of poll workers needed.

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MISSING ANYTHING?

Some candidates won't appear on the ballot until November. The statewide candidates for secretary of state, treasurer and auditor will be chosen at party conventions this summer.

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RACES TO WATCH

Some state lawmakers are facing a backlash over their votes on issues such as gay marriage and right to work. They include Republican Rep. Jerry Torr of Carmel, who faces his first primary challenge in 16 years; Sen. Jim Merritt of Indianapolis, who faces his first primary opponent in 24 years, and three in northeastern Indiana, where Indiana Family Action is spending money to fight Republican Reps. Rebecca Kubacki, Kathy Heuer and Casey Cox over their votes on a constitutional ban on gay marriage.

In congressional races, Democrats see their best hope in the 2nd District. Republican Jackie Walorski won the seat in 2012 by less than a percentage point despite its strong GOP leaning. Republican U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks faces a strong tea party challenger in David Stockdale in the 5th District.

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TURNOUT A KEY

Primary turnout in midterms is notoriously low in Indiana. Historically, about 20 percent of registered voters cast in-person ballots in midterm primaries. Those numbers could swing close races that might otherwise have been safe for incumbents.

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