Groups call for more changes to Indiana election process in light of COVID-19

Three advocacy groups on Tuesday called for the state to more to ensure safety and access to the primary and general elections in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Common Cause Indiana, Indiana Vote By Mail and the League of Women Voters of Indiana said they have sent a letter praising the Indiana Election Commission for its efforts to date. However, they want the commission to do more “to create an environment that will ensure the safety of Indiana voters, poll workers, and election staff for our primary election.”

The groups want the Indiana Election Commission to:

• Extend access to “no-excuse” absentee voting to all voters in the general election, as well as the primary;

• Send all registered voters an absentee ballot by mail, with the state covering those costs (as opposed to requiring all voters to apply for an absentee ballot)

• Clarify how the signature match process to verify voter identity will be done

• Provide rules for the efficient counting of a significantly larger number of mail-in ballots

In a news release, Linda Hanson, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Indiana said, “We recognize that this will be a challenging year for everyone involved in elections and we stand united in our belief that Indiana’s electorate deserves every opportunity to vote, and to have confidence in the voting process. We believe the suggestions in our letter to the Commission further that cause.”

Earlier this month, state election officials announced that a requirement of stating a reason to vote by mail are being removed due to the pandemic. Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, supported by Gov. Eric Holcomb and chairs of the Indiana Democratic and Republican parties, also moved the state’s primary election to June 2, from May 5.

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