Indiana Vote By Mail is a not-for-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to making sure all registered Hoosier voters are represented equally through the voting process.
(Indianapolis, Ind.) - With the advent of the 2021 legislative session, Indiana Vote By Mail applauds efforts by legislators to make elections more accessible to all voters, while keeping our elections safe. A range of bills advocate for full vote by mail as an option for voters, eliminate straight-ticket voting, expand the use of vote centers, streamline the process of registering to vote through BMV offices, allow 16-17 year old students to serve as election workers, expand early voting locations, remove the absentee ballot excuses, require tracking of ballot mail using bar codes, and many more initiatives. These bills help to move the cause forward to realize increased voter engagement rates in Indiana, historically in the bottom ten states for turnout, including for the 2020 General Election. The Indiana General Assembly can and should help to create a climate of citizen participation in our democracy.
On a national basis, the For The People Act, also known as HR1, may gain traction in the 117th Congress. Provisions of this act require same-day voter registration, early voting for 15 days, establish automatic voter registration, expand opportunities to vote by mail, make Election Day a federal holiday, restore voting rights to felons who complete their sentences, and regulate voter roll maintenance. The Act also contains provisions for voter verified paper ballots, and audit and recount procedures.
The General Election in November 2020 was safe and secure. This was echoed across all levels of election officials and security experts, from the federal Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (whose statement was co-authored by the National Association of State Election Directors and the National Association of Secretaries of State), to the Department of Justice, to Secretaries of State across the country, both Republicans and Democrats. In Indiana, election officials throughout the State reiterated the security of their local elections.
Indiana lawmakers must focus on bringing more voters into the polls and keeping our elections safe. As demonstrated by the 2020 General Election, our elections in Indiana were safe, even with the greatest number of votes cast by mail in the State’s history. Continued vigilance is necessary to keep voter confidence high. But unwarranted barriers to voting must be removed. The 2021 legislative session moves in the direction of providing better accessibility. Now lawmakers must act boldly to enact important legislation for Indiana voters.