Former Indiana Lt. Governors push for a no-fault absentee election

Indiana News

INDIANAPOLIS — Prominent Hoosiers on both sides of the aisle are calling for a no-fault absentee ballot election in the fall.

At this point, there is still time to make that call but the governor has made it clear he isn’t interested. Two former Indiana Lt. Governors, one Republican and one Democrat, are hoping to change that.

Former Republican Lt. Governor John Mutz isn’t holding back his opinions when it comes to why he believes Indiana isn’t on board with no-fault absentee ballots in the General Election.

“I think local officials are concerned about what Donald Trump may think about them and that’s most unfortunate because they have a job to do and if they do it well the public will reward them for it,” said Mutz.

He’s not buying the President’s rhetoric about how mail-in votes promote fraud.

“Donald Trump is behind in the polls, he realizes he may lose, he wants an excuse,” said Mutz. “And if he can say well, it was rigged, that’s an excuse.”

Democratic Former Indiana Lt. Governor Kathy Davis agrees, no-fault absentee ballot elections are safe and need to be offered to Hoosier voters in November. She referenced a recent MIT study out of Oregon— a state where vote by mail has been in place since the year 2000.

“Two out of 50 million ballots were suspected of being fraudulent,” said Davis. “And they said that’s five times less likely than being hit by lightning.”

Common Cause Indiana said this should not be a partisan issue.

“Mail-in voting does not benefit—the studies show— it doesn’t benefit one party over the other,” said Policy Director Julia Vaughn. “I know there is some traditional thinking that it does but that is not what the academic research shows.”

Common Cause Indiana is also pushing for a no-fault absentee ballot election in the fall. However, the group would like to see the state extend the noon deadline until polls close for absentee ballots. It just filed a federal lawsuit on the matter Thursday.

“We think that is an undue burden on our constitutional right to vote and it needs to be dismantled and relaxed for this upcoming General Election,” said Vaughn.

Governor Eric Holcomb has said repeatedly that he does not believe changing the election law is necessary in November. He said when no-fault absentee ballots were allowed in the primary, the state was under a stay at home order and they had to delay the election. Common Cause recognizes that argument.

“But we are far from out of the pandemic woods yet!” said Vaughn. “And I can tell you from the voters I’ve talked to, there’s a lot of fear out there.”

If no-fault absentee ballots are allowed, the decision needs to be made soon so counties can prepare.

“It’s going to take an operation to make it happen, make sure that we’ve got enough capacity to get ballots out and receive them back, we better get started!” said Davis.

Indiana counties had about 74 days to prepare for a no-fault absentee ballot election in the Primary Election.

Mutz said Holcomb needs to move on this now.

“I don’t see any reason why Indiana can’t do in the General Election what it did in the Primary,” said Mutz. “Doing the right thing is good politics and there is no reason why we can’t do the right thing here.”

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