Voter Advocates Sue Over Indiana's Absentee Ballot Deadline

Jul 31, 2020

The deadline for an Indiana voter to return a vote-by-mail ballot to their county election office is noon on Election Day. (Justin Hicks/IPB News)
Credit (Justin Hicks/IPB News)

Common Cause Indiana and the Indiana NAACP are suing Indiana in federal court over what they say is its “unjustifiably early” deadline to return absentee vote-by-mail ballots.

There’s increased attention on vote-by-mail this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The deadline for an Indiana voter to return a vote-by-mail ballot to their county election office is noon on Election Day. That’s unusual – in most states, the ballot must be returned by the end of day (or even just postmarked by Election Day).

Common Cause and the NAACP want to change that, making the deadline an Election Day postmark.

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Common Cause Indiana policy director Julia Vaughn said, with a surge in mail-in voting because of the pandemic, the current deadline will leave thousands of votes uncounted.

President of the NAACP Indiana State Conference Barbara Bolling-Williams calls the deadline “arbitrary” and a barrier to the right to vote.

There are also ongoing lawsuits over other parts of Indiana election law, including an effort to expand vote-by-mail to any voter this fall.

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