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House Republicans Block No-Excuse Absentee Voting

Indiana law says to cast an absentee ballot, voters need a valid excuse as to why they can’t vote in person. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Republicans on the House Elections Committee blocked an attempt Thursday to ease Indiana’s absentee voting rules.

Indiana law says to cast an absentee ballot, voters need a valid excuse as to why they can’t vote in person. But no one really checks that and there’s little evidence people are denied absentee ballots. Still, Rep. Dan Forestal (D-Indianapolis) says current law makes voters afraid to even ask for an absentee ballot. That’s why he offered an amendment in the House Elections Committee to create no-excuse absentee voting.

“I say, by removing the qualifiers, it makes things more convenient, less confusing, more secure,” Forestal says.

House Elections Committee Chair Tim Wesco (R-Osceola) says the state should encourage in-person voting, whenever possible.

“Absentee voting should, frankly, be discouraged, although allowed – that’s my personal position,” Wesco says.

Republicans worry vote-by-mail systems like absentee voting are prone to fraud, though there’s little evidence of that, either.

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