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Indiana House Republicans vote to further restrict mail-in voting

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Brandon Smith
/
IPB News
Lawmakers on the Indiana House floor debate a bill to further restrict vote-by-mail.

House Republicans voted Monday to further restrict when Hoosiers can vote by mail.

The GOP wants to encourage in-person voting – but Democrats call the measure “voter suppression.”

Currently, there are several reasons Hoosiers are allowed to cast a mail-in ballot. One is if you won’t be available to vote on Election Day. Under a bill, HB 1116, headed to the Senate, you would now also have to attest – under penalty of perjury – that you won’t be available to vote in-person any time in the 28 days before the election.

Rep. Tonya Pfaff (D-Terre Haute) said that’s going the wrong way.

“Most voters won’t risk trying to figure out their calendars, transportation needs, child care, work schedules just so they can request an absentee ballot," Pfaff said. "Instead, they just won’t vote.”

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House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) said there are plenty of in-person voting opportunities – which is true in some counties.

“Every person in this chamber wants to encourage voting as much as possible. And I’m proud to say, in Indiana, I believe we’ve done that.”

According to the Indiana Civic Health Index, the state recently dropped from 41st to 46th in the country for voter turnout.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.