INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Democratic Party, the organization that advocates for Hoosiers, their families and workers, is today disappointed at the Republican effort to further restrict the voting rights of Hoosiers with the passage of HB 1334. The bill now goes to Governor Eric Holcomb.
For years, Republicans have waged a war on absentee voting. HB 1334 is another attack on the voting rights of disabled, elderly, and overseas Hoosiers, and includes all forms of remote absentee voting including; mail-in voting, traveling board, military/overseas ballots, and voters with print disabilities. Indiana’s existing barriers to the ballot box put our state 43rd in voter turnout in the 2020 election and we are primed to fall even lower with the impending application of this poor legislation.
Instead of making it easier for people to vote, Republicans passed legislation that requires elderly Hoosiers and military members to jump through extra hoops to cast a ballot. It seems that they are worried about people in nursing homes or those serving our country overseas committing voter fraud.
“Election after election, Indiana finds itself at the bottom of the list for voter turnout. This bill will only make a bad problem worse,” said Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Mike Schmuhl. “When looking over this cruel proposal, Governor Holcomb should protect the voting rights of disabled, elderly, and military Hoosier families overseas by vetoing this bill, and sending it back to the legislature. Hoosier Democrats are fighting to make it easier for all Hoosiers to vote by expanding the ability to vote absentee to any registered voter that wishes to do so.”
Republicans, like new Secretary of State Diego Morales, are in search of a problem and yet another conspiracy tainted culture war as Indiana’s elections have proven to be secure and reliable year in and year out. What we do have is a voter turnout problem that is only getting worse.
This bill requires Hoosiers to provide a photocopy of their voter ID, or the unique voter identification number found on their registration to submit their absentee application. Voters will have to go through additional steps just to retrieve this number by contacting their county clerk. Moreover, this will clog up the work of hundreds of Hoosiers who work with clerks, registration offices, or conduct fair elections.
This bill will negatively impact those who live in nursing homes and retirement communities who need assistance casting a ballot, with many using traveling board applications to vote. It is unreasonable to expect those populations to have access to a photocopy machine. This legislation only places even more restrictions on the most vulnerable Hoosiers.
Republicans should join Democrats focused on solving Indiana’s voter turnout problem by expanding mail-in voting, adding same-day registration and keeping polling places open past 6:00 p.m. More Hoosiers voting — not less — would give us a more representative government at every level.