Threat to early voting neutralized for now as amendments pulled
Amendments would shorten early voting window
Last Updated: 71 days ago
INDIANAPOLIS - A threat to voters casting ballots before Election Day has been averted at the Statehouse, but the fight might not be over.
Currently in Indiana, voters can cast ballots at their county clerk's office up to 29 days before an election, even in counties that don't allow satellite voting.
But a pair of amendments that were prepared for a vote Monday but then withdrawn could have reduced that to just 10 days.
Last year, nearly 40,000 people voted early in Marion County.
People who do so say they like it because it's convenient, it doesn't interrupt their job schedules and it eliminates the possibility that a last-minute problem might cost them their vote.
"I guess it's the freedom that I don't have to go and do it on that day and that we have it behind us," said one early voter.
"Well, it gives me a lot of flexibility," another early voter said. "It's not determined by the weather. I can go on the weekend. I can go over on my lunch hour."
The lawmaker who drew up the amendments but didn't introduce them, Rep.Jeffrey Thompson, R-Lizton, said people need to decide whether month-long voting is a good thing or a bad thing.
He might still bring them back as amendments to another election bill.
"It wasn't the time to do that. Sometimes you want to wait, want to think some more, don't want to jump off a cliff too quick," Thompson said. "And so it may come back, and it may not. We'll talk to other folks, be sure we have consensus, at least among some to go forward."
Thompson said it was his own decision not to call for a vote on his amendments Monday, and that he was not pressured by leadership.
Democrats said Republicans are trying to hold down the vote.
They believe efforts like this are targeted squarely at Democratic voters who vote early because they often have a hard time doing it during regular voting hours.
"The people that have tough job schedules, use public transit, can go down to the City-County Building to vote, they're a little heavily weighted toward our party," said Rep. Edward DeLaney, D-Indianapolis.
Democratic Marion County Clerk Beth White opposes any reduction in the availability of early voting and said Indiana needs to make early voting easier, not more difficult.
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