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By: Rep. Phil GiaQuinta and Sen. Tim Lanane
Indiana must immediately move to conduct the June 2 election largely by mail. That means delivering every eligible Hoosier voter an application to vote by mail while providing limited, curbside voting options for Hoosiers with disabilities.
There is no certainty with this virus. Indiana health officials have publicly expressed this, noting the peak of the virus may not arrive until mid-May – when in-person early voting could be underway. Asking local election administrators to put poll workers – often older Hoosiers – in a setting where they’d encounter numerous others is untenable and downright dangerous.
It’s time to pivot our planning to make this a reality. Recently passed federal legislation made $400 million in election security grants available to states. Secretary of State Lawson should immediately work with Indiana’s federal delegation to maximize our state’s piece of that funding. Considering the time crunch our state faces, Indiana should rightfully be at the front of the line.
The lion’s share of the burden of this rapid transition will fall on local election administrators. The state must work to clear roadblocks for locals. That means the Secretary must immediately scale up her response and refuse to take no for an answer.
For those concerned about the cost, we can mitigate the expense by tapping available federal dollars. We bought a 28-day cushion by moving the primary, every moment not spent marshaling the resources to conduct this election by mail is now a moment wasted.
Even in uncertain times, elections are held. It’s what sets the American experiment apart. By quickly marshaling the necessary resources to conduct the June 2 election by mail, we can uphold that promise while minimizing the risk to communities.
State Representative Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) is the House Democratic Leader and State Senator Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) is the Senate Democratic Leader.