A Senate committee rejected an effort Monday to allow anyone to vote absentee by mail in Indiana.
The rejection comes as a bill to add greater voter ID requirements to vote-by-mail heads to the full Senate.
The bill, HB 1334, requires voters who mail in an application to vote by mail to include either their driver’s license, state ID or voting ID number, or a photocopy of a photo ID they can use for voting.
Rep. Tim Wesco (R-Osceola) said his bill simply extends voter ID requirements used for in-person voting to voting by mail.
“I’ve long felt that the process of simply matching signatures as the means of verifying the authenticity of an absentee ballot application is insufficient and extremely subjective,” Wesco said.
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 on statewide issues throughout the legislative session. And follow along with our bill tracker.
Democrats objected, saying Wesco’s bill creates an unnecessary hurdle. But Sen. J.D. Ford (R-Indianapolis) said if they’re going to add this requirement, then vote-by-mail should be open to everyone. He proposed an amendment to eliminate the excuses needed to cast a mail-in ballot.
“Essentially, I’m just asking why the government needs to know,” Ford said.
Most Republicans on the Senate Elections Committee rejected Ford’s proposal, without explanation. Sen. Greg Walker (R-Columbus), who has long advocated for no-excuse absentee voting, supported the amendment.