Election season, with its barrage of advertising and news coverage, forces many of us to confront an embarrassing truth: We can’t even name all the elected officials who represent us and our neighborhoods. But now there are no excuses. Thanks in large part to the efforts of University of Indianapolis senior Tim Coxey ’11, the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office launched a new web-based service you may have used in November: “Who Are Your Elected Officials?” Simply type in your address, and you’ll get a list that covers everyone from the White House to the local school board—more than 30 names in most cases.
“There’s no other state that has a comprehensive list like we do,” Coxey says. The Bremen, Indiana, native interned in the office’s Election Division from May through August, with duties centered on requirements of the Help America Vote Act. Among other accomplishments, he set up a social networking site for Indiana’s county clerks and developed an information packet to help college administrators explain absentee voting procedures to students.
Much of July, however, was devoted to filling gaps in a database of the state’s 1,200-plus elected officials. To do so, Coxey says, he spent a solid two weeks on the phone with local officials in most of Indiana’s 92 counties, gathering names and precinct boundary data.
Though the work might sound tedious, Coxey—a public relations major with a minor in political science—found it energizing. The experience confirmed his thoughts of pursuing a career in government or public affairs.
“You feel good because you know it’s a big part of our democratic process,” he says. “Serving our state—that’s what was really enjoyable about it.”