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Expanded Vote-By-Mail Looks Unlikely For November Election

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

It’s currently unlikely Hoosiers will have access to expanded vote-by-mail for this fall’s general election.

Republican leaders aren’t endorsing it after using it in the primary.

Concerns around COVID-19 prompted Indiana leaders to allow any Hoosier who wanted one to get a vote-by-mail ballot this year. And around 500,000 more people did so than in the 2018 or 2016 primaries. Democratic leaders like state party chair John Zody say that’s why it’s needed in November.

He says especially if coronavirus cases spike again this fall, counties need time to prepare for once again using expanded vote-by-mail.

But both Gov. Eric Holcomb and Secretary of State Connie Lawson say there still need to be lessons learned about how the primary went. And Lawson says she doesn’t yet want to make a decision about the general election.

“But my goal would be to have a normal election in November, with a normal absentee process, 28 days of early, in-person voting and voting on Election Day," Lawson says. "That’s my goal.”

A majority of the Indiana Election Commission – made up of two Democrats and two Republicans – must agree to expand vote- by-mail for November.

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