Indiana’s limits on voting time extensions backed by federal appeals court


(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

INDIANANPOLIS (AP) — A federal appeals court has upheld a law unique to Indiana that prohibits voters from asking county judges to extend voting hours beyond the state’s 6 p.m. closing time because of Election Day troubles.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling throws out a federal judge’s decision last month against the law passed in 2019 by Indiana’s Republican-dominated Legislature. The law prohibits anyone other than a county election board, which oversee voting matters, from requesting court orders to extend voting hours.

The lawsuit, filed in July by the voting rights group Common Cause Indiana, objected to provisions that allow judges to keep polling sites open only if they were shut down, and preventing them from considering situations such as malfunctioning equipment, insufficient ballots or long wait times.

The three-judge appeals court panel ruled that the law “does not place any burden on Indiana residents’ constitutional right to cast a ballot.”

“The district court rested its conclusion that the amendments burdened the right to vote on the possibility that some imaginable circumstance exists in which those provisions might affect voters,” the ruling said. “But (legal precedent) does not license such narrow second-guessing of legislative decision making.”

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