Give Now  »

Indiana Public Media | WFIU - NPR | WTIU - PBS

News Contact IPM News Indiana Public Media News

{ "banners": { "tv" : [ {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=PBS50BNR&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=Vw2P61IOjYWs8u2OM%2bwh623L5BYddGq6PVAl6UEf65g%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/pbs-50-anniv-banner.jpg", "startingDate" : "1601784000000", "endingDate" : "1601956740000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WTIUMCBNR&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=2T6mTyo6yYuMn%2bAFYFwp%2bq1gzMC6uhq5nDjkJobrCdg%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/8-28-20-wtiu-banner.jpg", "startingDate" : "1598587200000", "endingDate" : "1598673540000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WTIUMCBNR&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=2T6mTyo6yYuMn%2bAFYFwp%2bq1gzMC6uhq5nDjkJobrCdg%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/8-29-20-wtiu-banner.jpg", "startingDate" : "1598673600000", "endingDate" : "1598759940000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WTIUMCBNR&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=2T6mTyo6yYuMn%2bAFYFwp%2bq1gzMC6uhq5nDjkJobrCdg%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/8-30-20-wtiu-banner.jpg", "startingDate" : "1598760000000", "endingDate" : "1598914740000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WTIUMCBNR&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=2T6mTyo6yYuMn%2bAFYFwp%2bq1gzMC6uhq5nDjkJobrCdg%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/8-31-20-7pm-wtiu-banner.jpg", "startingDate" : "1598914800000", "endingDate" : "1598918400000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WTIUMCBNR&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=2T6mTyo6yYuMn%2bAFYFwp%2bq1gzMC6uhq5nDjkJobrCdg%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/8-30-20-wtiu-banner.jpg", "startingDate" : "1598918460000", "endingDate" : "1599019140000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WTIUMCBNR&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=2T6mTyo6yYuMn%2bAFYFwp%2bq1gzMC6uhq5nDjkJobrCdg%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/9-2-20-wtiu-banner.jpg", "startingDate" : "1599019200000", "endingDate" : "1599191940000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WTIUMCBNR&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=2T6mTyo6yYuMn%2bAFYFwp%2bq1gzMC6uhq5nDjkJobrCdg%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/9-4-20-wtiu-banner.jpg", "startingDate" : "1599192000000", "endingDate" : "1599451140000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WTIUMCBNR&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=2T6mTyo6yYuMn%2bAFYFwp%2bq1gzMC6uhq5nDjkJobrCdg%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/9-7-20-wtiu-banner.jpg", "startingDate" : "1599451200000", "endingDate" : "1599537540000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WTIUMCBNR&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=2T6mTyo6yYuMn%2bAFYFwp%2bq1gzMC6uhq5nDjkJobrCdg%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/9-12-20-wfiu-banner.jpg", "startingDate" : "1599883200000", "endingDate" : "1600055940000"} ], "radio" : [ {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WFIUFDBNR&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=tAXekcDG%2flgkr2wNtsqwhq1gzMC6uhq5nDjkJobrCdg%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/9-15-20-and-9-21-20-wfiu-banner.jpg", "startingDate" : "1600142400000", "endingDate" : "1600228740000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WFIUFDBNR&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=tAXekcDG%2flgkr2wNtsqwhq1gzMC6uhq5nDjkJobrCdg%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/9-21-20-wfiu-banner.jpg", "startingDate" : "1600660800000", "endingDate" : "1600747140000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WFIUFDBNR&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=tAXekcDG%2flgkr2wNtsqwhq1gzMC6uhq5nDjkJobrCdg%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/9-22-20-wfiu-banner.jpg", "startingDate" : "1600747200000", "endingDate" : "1600833540000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WFIUFDBNR&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=tAXekcDG%2flgkr2wNtsqwhq1gzMC6uhq5nDjkJobrCdg%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/9-23-20-wfiu-banner.jpg", "startingDate" : "1600833600000", "endingDate" : "1600919940000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WFIUFDBNR&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=tAXekcDG%2flgkr2wNtsqwhq1gzMC6uhq5nDjkJobrCdg%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/9-24-20-wfiu-banner.jpg", "startingDate" : "1600920000000", "endingDate" : "1601006340000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WFIUFDBNR&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=tAXekcDG%2flgkr2wNtsqwhq1gzMC6uhq5nDjkJobrCdg%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/9-25-20-wfiu-banner.jpg", "startingDate" : "1601006400000", "endingDate" : "1601092740000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WFIUFDBNR&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=tAXekcDG%2flgkr2wNtsqwhq1gzMC6uhq5nDjkJobrCdg%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/9-26-20-wfiu-banner.jpg", "startingDate" : "1601092800000", "endingDate" : "1601265540000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WFIUFDBNR&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=tAXekcDG%2flgkr2wNtsqwhq1gzMC6uhq5nDjkJobrCdg%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/9-28-20-wfiu-banner-am.jpg", "startingDate" : "1601265600000", "endingDate" : "1601323200000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WFIUFDBNR&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=tAXekcDG%2flgkr2wNtsqwhq1gzMC6uhq5nDjkJobrCdg%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/9-28-20-wfiu-banner-pm.jpg", "startingDate" : "1601323200000", "endingDate" : "1601334000000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/70", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/wfiu-birthday-webbanner.jpg", "startingDate" : "1601524800000", "endingDate" : "1601611140000"} ] }}
{ "lightboxes": { "tv" : [ {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=PBS50LB&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=Vw2P61IOjYV1iYUm5SPzD%2bzWDeZ%2beA1M", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/pbs-50th-lightbox.jpg", "startingDate" : "1601784000000", "endingDate" : "1601870340000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WTIUMCLB&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=2T6mTyo6yYtDgsQprWuZNm3L5BYddGq6PVAl6UEf65g%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/8-28-20-wtiu-lightbox.jpg", "startingDate" : "1598587200000", "endingDate" : "1598673540000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WTIUMCLB&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=2T6mTyo6yYtDgsQprWuZNm3L5BYddGq6PVAl6UEf65g%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/8-29-20-wtiu-lightbox.jpg", "startingDate" : "1598673600000", "endingDate" : "1598759940000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WTIUMCLB&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=2T6mTyo6yYtDgsQprWuZNm3L5BYddGq6PVAl6UEf65g%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/8-30-20-wtiu-lightbox.jpg", "startingDate" : "1598760000000", "endingDate" : "1598914740000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WTIUMCLB&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=2T6mTyo6yYtDgsQprWuZNm3L5BYddGq6PVAl6UEf65g%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/8-31-20-7pm-wtiu-lightbox.jpg", "startingDate" : "1598914800000", "endingDate" : "1598918400000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WTIUMCLB&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=2T6mTyo6yYtDgsQprWuZNm3L5BYddGq6PVAl6UEf65g%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/8-30-20-wtiu-lightbox.jpg", "startingDate" : "1598918460000", "endingDate" : "1599019140000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WTIUMCLB&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=2T6mTyo6yYtDgsQprWuZNm3L5BYddGq6PVAl6UEf65g%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/9-2-20-wtiu-lightbox.jpg", "startingDate" : "1599019200000", "endingDate" : "1599191940000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WTIUMCLB&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=2T6mTyo6yYtDgsQprWuZNm3L5BYddGq6PVAl6UEf65g%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/9-4-20-wtiu-lightbox.jpg", "startingDate" : "1599192000000", "endingDate" : "1599451140000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WTIUMCLB&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=2T6mTyo6yYtDgsQprWuZNm3L5BYddGq6PVAl6UEf65g%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/9-7-20-wtiu-lightbox.jpg", "startingDate" : "1599451200000", "endingDate" : "1599537540000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WTIUMCLB&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=2T6mTyo6yYtDgsQprWuZNm3L5BYddGq6PVAl6UEf65g%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/9-12-20-wtiu-lightbox.jpg", "startingDate" : "1599883200000", "endingDate" : "1600055940000"} ], "radio" : [ {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WFIUFDLB&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=tAXekcDG%2flizvLEFSbjC6m3L5BYddGq6PVAl6UEf65g%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/9-15-20-and-9-21-20-wfiu-lightbox.jpg", "startingDate" : "1600142400000", "endingDate" : "1600228740000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WFIUFDLB&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=tAXekcDG%2flizvLEFSbjC6m3L5BYddGq6PVAl6UEf65g%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/9-21-20-wfiu-lightbox.jpg", "startingDate" : "1600660800000", "endingDate" : "1600747140000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WFIUFDLB&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=tAXekcDG%2flizvLEFSbjC6m3L5BYddGq6PVAl6UEf65g%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/9-22-20-wfiu-lightbox.jpg", "startingDate" : "1600747200000", "endingDate" : "1600833540000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WFIUFDLB&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=tAXekcDG%2flizvLEFSbjC6m3L5BYddGq6PVAl6UEf65g%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/9-23-20-wfiu-lightbox.jpg", "startingDate" : "1600833600000", "endingDate" : "1600919940000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WFIUFDLB&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=tAXekcDG%2flizvLEFSbjC6m3L5BYddGq6PVAl6UEf65g%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/9-24-20-wfiu-lightbox.jpg", "startingDate" : "1600920000000", "endingDate" : "1601006340000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WFIUFDLB&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=tAXekcDG%2flizvLEFSbjC6m3L5BYddGq6PVAl6UEf65g%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/9-25-20-wfiu-lightbox.jpg", "startingDate" : "1601006400000", "endingDate" : "1601092740000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WFIUFDLB&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=tAXekcDG%2flizvLEFSbjC6m3L5BYddGq6PVAl6UEf65g%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/9-26-20-wfiu-lightbox.jpg", "startingDate" : "1601092800000", "endingDate" : "1601265540000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WFIUFDLB&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=tAXekcDG%2flizvLEFSbjC6m3L5BYddGq6PVAl6UEf65g%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/9-28-20-wfiu-lighbox-am.jpg", "startingDate" : "1601265600000", "endingDate" : "1601323200000"} , {"url" : "https://indianapublicmedia.secureallegiance.com/wtiu/WebModule/Donate.aspx?P=WFIUFDLB&PAGETYPE=PLG&CHECK=tAXekcDG%2flizvLEFSbjC6m3L5BYddGq6PVAl6UEf65g%3d", "img" : "https://indianapublicmedia.org/images/banner-images/9-28-20-wfiu-lightbox-pm.jpg", "startingDate" : "1601323200000", "endingDate" : "1601334000000"} ] }}
{ "item" : [ {"label" : "t", "mp3" : "as", "startingDate" : "1568692800000", "endingDate" : "1569124800000"} , {"label" : "h", "mp3" : "k", "startingDate" : "1568001600000", "endingDate" : "1568433600000"} ] }
true true true true true true

Excuse Or Not, It's Still Unclear Who Can Vote By Mail This November In Indiana

Election workers in Monroe County prepare mail-in ballots. The county has received a record number already and is expecting more. (Brock E.W. Turner, WFIU/WTIU News)

County clerks across Indiana are preparing for a unique election this November.

State election officials’ insistence on in-person voting, has caused confusion on what are or aren’t valid excuses to vote by mail.

That comes as county clerks and other local election officials have been tasked to rethink decades long polling place operations.

Some are sounding alarms about a possible shortage of poll workers, though not that’s not the case everywhere.  

Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, the state’s top election official, is spending $1 million in CARES Act money on advertising to recruit poll workers.

While many clerks say they’re confident local polling places won’t be affected, some have already consolidated polling locations ahead of this November’s general election.

Fewer, more socially distant locations could limit possible transmission of the coronavirus, but places additional strain on voters with transportation challenges. It also has a practical impact.  Fewer locations require fewer poll workers.

It’s too early to know just how many workers county clerks will need. In many Indiana counties, the local Republican and Democrat parties are responsible for getting an equal number of poll workers. They’re in the process of drumming up support now.

Any shortage can largely be attributed to the demographics of traditional poll workers.  

“Our poll workers are aging, so of course this year has been a little more difficult because if you’re an aging poll worker you’re over 65,” Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson said during a state press briefing earlier this month. “Even if you don’t have an underlying condition, you’re a high risk.”

One of them is Barbara Tully. Tully has worked the polls in Marion County the past couple of elections, and was planning to again this year. 

“I just felt uncomfortable,” she admitted. “Working in a polling location, even with all that PPE that the counties are supplying to poll workers.” Tully, who is 59, admits she isn’t in the highest risk group, but remains concerned. 

“That's a long day,” she says. “I mean, if you're an inspector at the polls you're working on from 6am to 6pm.”

Marion County is fortunate. Although the state’s most populous county has struggled to get enough people to work the polls in recent years, that’s not the case this year.

“To date, we have recruited roughly 2400 election workers, which is actually above the goal that we have,” Russell Hollis, the Deputy Director at the Marion Clerk’s office said.  He admits the office was, “really happy about that.” Hollis, however is not turning workers away.

The county has seen an influx of poll workers from non-traditional backgrounds. He credits broader outreach from his office as well as organizations like Indianapolis’s Urban League, Bar Association, and the African American Coalition of Indianapolis.

“I think one of the reasons is that folks are really energetic and enthusiastic about this election cycle,” he says. “Another reason, is that people understand that the only way we can have 187 polling locations on election day is if we are able to staff those locations. The public understands that, and they have been willing to help us out so that we can avoid having long lines on election day.”

Excuse Or Not, It Is Unclear Who Can Vote By Mail This November 

Another one of those organizations is Indiana Vote by Mail, which Tully serves as President. It’s a non-partisan group that advocates for what its name implies—the expansion of mail in voting.  She says her organization’s message this year resonates differently.

“This is definitely personal because of the pandemic, absolutely personal because of the pandemic,” Tully said.  

Indiana Vote by Mail is suing the state for requiring absentee excuses beyond fear of contracting COVID-19.  According to analysis from the Washington Post, Indiana is one of just four states this year still requiring a non-COVID excuse to vote by mail in November for all voters.

Texas, the fifth state, does not accept restrictions for younger voters with coronavirus fears, but older voters may list potential infection as a valid excuse.

Tully goes to the grocery store and on runs occasionally, but says she’s doing everything to limit her risk of coming in contact with the virus. However, in Indiana, it’s unclear if she’ll be allowed to vote by mail in November’s.

State election officials have been hesitant to commit on what is and isn’t a valid excuse.

“I’ve had a lot of questions on whether this qualifies for someone who is afraid of getting COVID-19 at the polls,” Indiana Secretary Connie Lawson, a Republican, said last month. “If you’re confined to your home because you have a condition that puts you at high risk and you’re self-isolating you may qualify to vote absentee by mail. But, if you’re still going to the grocery store and running other errands you’re not confined to your home.”

Governor Eric Holcomb has deferred to Lawson on election matters. Her office wants to hold as normal an election as possible. 

Too Late To Look Back

That likely explains the state’s decision to spend federal CARES Act dollars to secure additional PPE for in-person voting, instead of giving county clerks resources to bolster mail-in voting.

That decision earlier this year means the Hoosier state is one of four states that still require an excuse to vote by mail.  

Nearly everyone, including Monroe County Election Supervisor Karen Wheeler, agrees it’s too late to expand no-excuse mail-in voting now.

“Whether you're for that or against it, they [other states] have it in that process. They know how to do it, and we don't know how to do it yet,” she said.  Wheeler is overwhelmed now as it is, and has a hard time imagining how her office could handle an influx of mailed ballots. 

“We've got to do our best, and it's like all the cards are stacked against you,” she admitted. “So how could we do 46,000 or more [mail-in] ballots?” That kind of scares the bejesus out of me because, wow, and then you only have so much time.”

Linda Hanson, who heads Indiana’s League of Women Voters, agrees. Her group is non-partisan, but Hanson has a hard time believing national political pressure hasn’t influenced decisions here.

“I see it as politicized,” she said. “Certainly, there are players at the national level who are or encouraging that.”

Donald Trump, an ally of Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, has routinely raised false concerns about the security mail-in voting, despite doing it himself.

Hanson says if nearly every other state could expand to no-excuse mail-in voting, Indiana should as well. “We have state after state who said, okay, we've got to make this safer for our voters. We've got to make it secure and accessible,” she said. “We, are one of the states that makes voting most difficult.”

Secretary of State Connie Lawson’s office provided written answers to questions, but declined an interview for this story. The office declined to comment on whether national political pressure swayed state election decisions.

This post has been updated to clarify other states' mail-in voting policies.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

Find Us on Facebook

Recent Government and Politics Stories