The hopes of Hoosiers who wanted Indiana to expand vote-by-mail for this fall’s election are all but buried after a federal appeals court ruling Tuesday.
A group of Indiana residents sued the state, trying to force it to allow any registered voter to cast a mail-in ballot for the 2020 general election. The state expanded vote-by-mail in the primary but Republicans refused to do so for the fall.
A federal district court judge already denied that request last month. And now, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has done the same. In a unanimous decision, the appellate court said it’s the pandemic, not the state, that’s to blame if voters choose not to cast a ballot this year because of fears around COVID-19. The court’s decision said Indiana has no constitutional duty to expand vote-by-mail.
The appeals court judges also balked at changing Indiana’s system so close to the election.
It’s likely only the U.S. Supreme Court could now force Indiana to expand vote-by-mail for this year’s election – and such a move is unlikely.
The state does allow some people to vote by mail, if they qualify under about a dozen reasons provided by state law.
The deadline to request a mail-in ballot – which you can do at IndianaVoters.com – is Oct. 22. But officials urge Hoosiers to request and send back in their ballot well ahead of time.