INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Democratic Party, the organization that advocates for the future of Indiana and its families, today expressed concern about HB 1334 which would add unnecessary hurdles to voting by mail and travel board voting in Indiana. The proposal, put forward by Republican Rep. Timothy Wesco of Osceola, would make it more difficult for Hoosiers, including nursing home residents, to exercise their right to vote.
Under the proposed legislation, voters who wish to vote by mail or via travel board voting would be required to provide additional identification, such as a photocopy of their ID, or at least two identification numbers in order to receive an absentee ballot. This would create unnecessary barriers to voting and could disenfranchise many Hoosiers, particularly those who are elderly, disabled, or living in rural areas.
Of note, one of the bill’s main proponents is Indiana Secretary of State Diego Morales, who was in the news for hiring his brother-in-law as a director in his office among his many other controversies.
Sixty percent of the 143,000 mail-in ballots cast last year were from voters 65 or older, and travel board voting primarily goes to nursing homes or retirement communities that would be negatively impacted by the proposed legislation. The bill would hinder efforts to increase voter turnout by placing undue burdens on nursing homes and elderly individuals who require assistance in casting their ballots.
Furthermore, Indiana already has a secure and reliable voting system, with numerous safeguards in place to prevent fraud and ensure the accuracy of election results. The proposed bill is a solution in search of a problem and would do more harm than good by limiting access to the ballot box.
“Indiana Republicans and Secretary of State Diego Morales are once again trying to make it harder for Hoosiers to exercise their simple right to vote. The proposed bill is nothing more than an attempt to suppress the vote and limit access for a large number of Hoosiers, including nursing home residents,” said Mike Schmuhl, Chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party. “Indiana already has one of the lowest voter turnout rates in the country, and adding unnecessary hurdles to mail and travel board voting will only further discourage already vulnerable Hoosiers from participating in our democracy. This is unacceptable.”
These proposed changes in the bill are over the top, extreme, and go against the very principles of democracy by further limiting access to voting and depressing voter turnout.
Democrats urge Statehouse Republicans to reconsider this proposed bill and work with Democrats to create a fair and accessible voting system that ensures every Hoosier’s voice is heard and every vote is counted.