NewsPublic Affairs / April 17, 2020

GOP Election Commission Members Reject Some Primary Voting Changes

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Republicans on the Indiana Election Commission rejected Democrats’ attempt to loosen some restrictions for the June 2 primary election. - FILE PHOTO: Steve Burns/WFIU, WTIU

Republicans on the Indiana Election Commission rejected Democrats’ attempt to loosen some restrictions for the June 2 primary election.

FILE PHOTO: Steve Burns/WFIU, WTIU

Republicans on the Indiana Election Commission rejected Democrats’ attempt Friday to loosen some restrictions for the June 2 primary election.

The state already pushed back the election from May in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. And the commission Friday approved more changes, such as limiting in-person voting to the week leading up to and including Election Day.

But Democrats pushed for more. One proposal would allow Hoosiers to request an absentee vote-by-mail ballot up to eight days before the election (instead of the current 12.) Another would allow those absentee ballots to come in as late as three days after June 2 – right now, they must be in by noon on Election Day.

“The purpose of this amendment is to essentially recognize that the mail may slow through the postal service as a result of the pandemic,” says commission member Suzannah Wilson Overholt.

READ MORE: Can I Go For A Walk? Here's What The Expanded 'Stay-At-Home' Order Really Does

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Commission Chair Paul Okeson says those issues were already discussed privately leading up to the commission’s Friday meeting.

“Yet, we came to some agreement and passed an order that did not contain the information that you’re proposing in those amendments," Okeson says. "Which, forgive me, seems a bit disingenuous.”

The commission’s GOP members didn’t explain any further why they rejected the Democrats’ proposals.

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

This is a rapidly evolving story, and we are working hard to bring you the most up-to-date information. However, we recommend checking the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Indiana State Department of Health for the most recent numbers of COVID-19 cases.

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