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As Indiana’s vote-by-mail deadline approaches, one advocate raises concerns over inaccessibility

By Violet Comber-Wilen, IPB News | Published on in Government, Politics
Indiana’s deadline to register to vote is April 8. Hoosiers have until April 25 to request a mail-in ballot from their county clerk or file their application online at IndianaVoters.com. (FILE PHOTO: Justin Hicks/IPB News)

Indiana’s deadline to register to vote is April 8. Hoosiers have until April 25 to request a mail-in ballot from their county clerk or file their application online at IndianaVoters.com. One advocate is expressing concerns about lack of vote-by-mail accessibility ahead of the election.

Barbara Tully is on the state board of the League of Women Voters. She said Indiana vote-by-mail applicants must fit one of 11 criteria to receive a mail-in ballot, such as being 65 or older or being confined to their home.

“You have to check one of those reasons,” she said. “And then you need to provide either your driver’s license number or the last four digits of your Social Security number. And if you don’t have one of those, then you have to call the clerk’s office to get your voter ID number and put it on the application.”

Tully said she doesn’t see the value in having to specify one of these reasons in order to vote-by-mail.

“How is Indiana served by knowing why a voter can’t show up on Election Day?” she said. “ I don’t know how the state is served by that.”

READ MORE: These are the most common mistakes election boards see on mail-in ballot applications, at the polls

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Tully said the vote-by-mail process in the state is not as accessible – making voter turnout lower.

“As we know from the 2023 Indiana Civic Health Index that was released in January, in 2022, Indiana came dead last in terms of voter turnout,” Tully said.

Tully said there is no partisan advantage to vote-by-mail. She said some legislators have expressed concerns about security with mail-in ballots. Voter fraud with those ballots is extremely rare.

“There are legislators that believe that people should have to interface with the voting system, essentially, in order to exercise the right to vote,” she said. “And I would disagree with that presumption, because a lot of people have very busy lives and life is hard enough.”

Tully said she hopes to see increased opportunities to vote by mail in the future.

The deadline to register to vote is April 8. To apply for a vote-by-mail ballot, visit the Indiana secretary of state’s voter portal at IndianaVoters.com.

Violet is our daily news reporter. Contact her at vcomberwilen@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @ComberWilen.