NewsPublic Affairs / August 21, 2020

Judge Denies Attempt To Force Indiana To Expand Vote-By-Mail

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Most Hoosier voters will have to cast their ballots in-person this fall amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. -  Justin Hicks/IPB News

Most Hoosier voters will have to cast their ballots in-person this fall amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Justin Hicks/IPB News

A federal judge won’t force Indiana to expand vote-by-mail for this fall’s election.

A group of Hoosier voters filed a lawsuit against the Indiana Election Commission after Republican commission members refused to allow any Hoosier who wanted to vote by mail to cast a ballot that way for the 2020 general election.

The commission did expand vote-by-mail for the June primary, due to the pandemic.

READ MORE: Here Are The 11 Reasons You're Allowed To Vote By Mail In Indiana

Judge James Patrick Hanlon ruled that while the Constitution guarantees the right to vote, it does not guarantee the right to vote by mail. And he says the voters who filed the lawsuit couldn’t prove that they would be blocked from voting at all if vote-by-mail wasn’t expanded.

That makes it unlikely the system will change this year. Gov. Eric Holcomb has steadfastly refused to expand vote-by-mail again for the general election; he argues in-person voting will be safe enough for most Hoosiers.

Indiana is one of seven states without expanded vote-by-mail this fall.

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

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