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Vote-By-Mail-Only Primary Election A Possibility For Indiana

By Brandon Smith, IPB News | Published on in Government, Health, Politics, Statewide News
The Indiana Election Commission conducts its first ever virtual meeting to finalize rules for the primary election, which was moved to June 2. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)
The Indiana Election Commission conducts its first ever virtual meeting to finalize rules for the primary election, which was moved to June 2. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)

Indiana could move to a vote-by-mail-only primary election this year if the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t improve in time.

That’s one of the things brought up by the Indiana Election Commission as it finalized the rules this week for the state’s primary, which was moved from May 5 to June 2.

The state will allow any registered Hoosier to vote via mail-in ballot for the primary, while still allowing in-person voting, says Republican Commission member Zach Klutz.

“And it’s as comprehensive as possible, I think, to ensure the most voter turnout while also protecting the health of the voters,” Klutz says.

Hoosiers who wish to vote by mail must mail in an application to their county election board. Those applications can be accessed on the Secretary of State’s website. The Commission is also urging the state Election Division to create an online application that won’t be need to be mailed in.

READ MORE: Can I Go For A Walk? Here’s What A ‘Stay-At-Home’ Order Really Does

To accomodate the primary date shift, Hoosiers now have until May 4 to register to vote, which they can do at IndianaVoters.com.

Commission Vice Chair Anthony Long, a Democrat, says he’s excited about what the state will learn from expanded vote-by-mail, something his party wants to make permanent.

“Give an opportunity to see how well the mail-in system works and what problems it will create – and I’m sure there will be some,” Long says.

Chair Paul Okeson says the Commission will meet again in April to discuss further changes that might be needed – including whether to eliminate in-person voting for the June primary.

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

This is a rapidly evolving story, and we are working hard to bring you the most up-to-date information. However, we recommend checking the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Indiana State Department of Health for the most recent numbers of COVID-19 cases.