State Rep. Tonya Pfaff, 2.15.23: “Our election security measures work. This bill isn’t necessary.”
INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Democratic Party, the organization that advocates for the future of Indiana and its families, today expressed concern about HB 1334 which would add unnecessary hurdles to voting by mail in Indiana. The proposal, put forward by Republican Rep. Timothy Wesco of Osceola, would make it more difficult for Hoosiers to exercise their right to vote by mail.
Under the proposed legislation, voters who wish to vote by mail would be required to provide additional identification, such as a photocopy of their ID, or at least two identification numbers in order to receive an absentee ballot. This would create unnecessary barriers to voting and could disenfranchise many Hoosiers, particularly those who are elderly, disabled, or living in rural areas. 60 percent of the 143,000 mail-in ballots cast last year were from voters 65 or older.
Furthermore, Indiana already has a secure and reliable voting system, with numerous safeguards in place to prevent fraud and ensure the accuracy of election results. The proposed bill is a solution in search of a problem and would do more harm than good by limiting access to the ballot box.
“Indiana Republicans are once again trying to make it harder for Hoosiers to exercise their simple right to vote. The proposed bill is nothing more than an attempt to suppress the vote and limit access for a large number of Hoosiers,” said Mike Schmuhl, Chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party. “Indiana already has one of the lowest voter turnout rates in the country, and adding unnecessary hurdles to mail voting will only further discourage Hoosiers from participating in our democracy.”
The proposed bill presents a troubling development that would further limit Hoosiers’ access to the ballot box. By prohibiting county clerks from mailing absentee ballot applications, a longstanding practice, the proposed bill creates additional barriers for voters who rely on the convenience of mail-in voting.
Additionally, the bill would hinder efforts to increase voter turnout by placing undue burdens on nursing homes and elderly individuals who require assistance in casting their ballots. For instance, nursing homes will be required to undergo a time-consuming process of having each resident call their clerk individually to obtain absentee ballot applications. The bill also mandates that elderly individuals who need the help of voter travel boards must first provide identification on their application, further adding to the bureaucratic challenges they face.
These proposed changes in the bill are over the top, extreme, and go against the very principles of democracy by further limiting access to voting and depressing voter turnout.
“Instead of making it harder to vote, we should be working to make it easier and more accessible for every eligible voter to cast their ballot and have their voice heard,” said Schmuhl. “This move goes against the will of the people and undermines the democratic process in our state.”
The Indiana Democratic Party urges Statehouse Republicans to reconsider this proposed bill and work with Democrats to create a fair and accessible voting system that ensures every Hoosier has the opportunity to cast their ballot safely and securely. The right to vote is a fundamental pillar of our democracy, and it is our duty to protect it for future generations.