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Bill To Extend Indiana Poll Hours To 8 p.m. Has Uncertain Future

An Indianapolis voting site.

Indiana is one of only three states where polls close at 6 p.m. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Legislation to extend Indiana’s Election Day voting by two hours – to 8 p.m. – got a hearing this week in the House Elections Committee.

Current poll hours are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Indiana is one of only three states whose polls close that early. It’s also one of only 18 states where polls are open just 12 hours. The Hoosier State also regularly ranks near the bottom of the country for voter turnout.

Rima Shahid leads Women4Change, a nonpartisan advocacy group. She says extending poll hours to 8 p.m. would help Hoosiers.

“I am here on behalf of our members, our members that have reached out to us numerous times and have to make a decision between picking up their children from day care, after care or going to vote,” Shahid says.

But Indiana county clerks worry the change would put a greater burden on their already strained resources. Christine Traina lobbies for the clerks.

“The fear is that this will lead to more poll workers not participating in the election process," Traina says. "We’ve already seen a trend of less qualified poll workers.”

There’s no guarantee the bill will get a vote. Several Republican committee members expressed doubts the poll hour change would have any impact.

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

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