With a greater spotlight this year on the race for secretary of state, Libertarians are looking to make a significant impact. Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith sat down with Libertarian candidate Jeff Maurer to discuss the campaign’s top issues – including the validity of election results themselves.
IPB News Statehouse Bureau Chief Brandon Smith: As you talk to Hoosiers, what do you tell them about the results of the 2020 election?
Jeff Maurer: First, let me clear: I fully accept the results of the 2020 election. The problem is that we can’t audit it, we can’t understand what actually happened. So, it’s not enough to prove – or, to not be able to prove that there was fraud. We have to prove that there was no fraud. And that has to be done not in a court of law but in the court of public opinion. That’s a much higher burden of proof.
Smith: So, improving our elections – here in Indiana, what does that mean to you?
Maurer: First is a receipt. That’s a piece of documentation that confirms a transaction. We have that every day, from every place that we go to. Think about this, Brandon: when was the last time you purchased something and that vendor refused to give you a receipt? The other side of it is auditing. In Indiana, we have a very limited process that is called an audit but really would be no good if you were running a small business and had a cash register open. So, what we need to do is audit all 92 counties, we need an independent audit and we need that independent audit completed before the elections are certified.
Smith: Receipts for every Hoosier who voted and a full audit after every election would cost a lot more money than we’re currently putting into elections. How do we pay for it?
Maurer: Auditing is not free. You probably pay insurance for your car or your house or whatever assets you own – and that’s not free either. But what you’re doing is you’re paying for protection. You’re paying for protection in case something really bad happens. And that’s part of what auditing is.
Smith: I want to ask about voting, generally. Do you think it’s easy enough for people to vote in Indiana?
Maurer: Indiana, compared to other states, is a good place to vote. Are there things that we could do to make it easier? Sure. And to be clear, on the record: one, I’m not proposing any changes to early voting days. Two, I’m not proposing any changes to the 11 exemptions for absentee voting. And then, what we should focus on is making paper and making the exceptions the exception, not the rule. And if we do that, then the auditing process will be better, it’ll be more accurate, and our elections will be more accurate and more immediate.
Join the conversation and sign up for the Indiana Two-Way. Text "Indiana" to 73224. Your comments and questions in response to our weekly text help us find the answers you need leading up to Election Day.
Smith: For no-excuse absentee voting [by mail], is that something that, as secretary of state, would be good for Indiana, that we open up absentee voting to anyone who wants to vote that way?
Maurer: So, there are a few states now that have had or have or have had no-excuse absentee voting. I don’t believe it’s correct. I don’t believe that my neighbors want that and so, I am not championing no-excuse absentee voting [by mail].
Smith: Why don’t you think that’s good for Indiana?
Maurer: I think we need to have trust in the system we have first, before adding a new variable.
Smith: Election administration is not the only thing, of course, that the Secretary of State’s office does. So, how much, as you talk to Hoosiers, is, ‘Hey, by the way, this office also does these other things?’
Maurer: There’s a lot of that. So, one of the first questions I get is, what does this person do? There are four divisions to the office. The first, of course, is the elections division, which is what we’ve been chatting about. The second is the business services division, which licenses or writes businesses and nonprofits into existence, legally. The third is the auto dealers services division and the fourth is the securities division, which investigates securities fraud – more like Bernie Madoff-type of Ponzi schemes, as an example.
Smith: I’m curious, as a Libertarian, how you view the business services part of the secretary of state’s office. I know that this is not a uniform opinion but a lot of Libertarians don’t think businesses should be licensed, for instance. How do you, as a Libertarian, approach a part of the office that maybe you, personally, don’t agree with?
Maurer: We need one, uniform voice – one registration – to say, this is a business, this is not a business. So, in that sense, it does serve an important role. But, the challenge there is not to over-administer, not to become burdensome and distracting to businesses. In that office, my goal is to do the very best to keep government out of the way of businesses, of entrepreneurs, of Hoosiers who are running their businesses.