2020’s general election could inspire changes to Indiana law

Politics

INDIANAPOLIS — The 2020 presidential election is inspiring some state legislation this upcoming session.

Democratic State Sen. J.D. Ford said he is proposing changes to Indiana’s election laws based on issues we saw earlier this month.

“I think for me, it’s just we represent the people, and I think the people were speaking very loudly during this past election,” said Ford. “There were folks, including myself, who had to wait in line to vote for three and a half hours.”

Ford’s bill would allow all Hoosiers to vote by mail without needing an excuse.

This is something Indiana Republicans, including Governor Eric Holcomb, didn’t support in the 2020 General Election — even with a pandemic.

“We proved that we could do it safely,” explained Holcomb in a press conference the day after the November 4 election. He said the process went well.

“We showed how it could be done, and what you heard from people who were turning out in person, their narrative was they wanted to vote in person. It was part of their civic duty.”

“I do think that the election went very well.” said Sen. Ford. “All I’m asking for is for us to take a look at the election law and improve upon some of these areas.”

Ford’s bill would also extend polling hours.

“I would like to see it at 8 p.m., but I think the bill says 7 p.m. you know, really just an extra hour would do a lot, would do wonders for working-day Hoosiers,” said Ford. “Particularly, the people who have to work a 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. shift.”

Ford wants to create a clearer ballot tracking system for those who vote by mail.

“If you’ve ever flown on an airline, you can literally track your bag from the time you drop it off at the counter to your final destination,” explained Ford. “This is the same thing. You can watch your ballot go from your mailbox, to the United States Postal Service station, to the clerk’s office and see where it’s at.”

The bill would also allow workers to start counting mail-in ballots the day before Election Day.

“All I’m asking for is to bump it up 24 hours. Let’s start counting those ballots on Monday. Now, of course, we aren’t going to share those results of that county until it’s time to do that,” said Ford.

He also wants to allow 17-year-old Hoosiers to pre-register to vote so they are ready to go when they turn 18 before Election Day.

“Tweaking a few things here and there to make it even better is a win for us and a win for voters of our state,” said Ford.

We reached out to Republican State Senator and Senate Elections Chair Jon Ford. His press secretary said he will be sending a statement about whether he plans to hear the bill in committee soon.

We will add that to this story when we get it.

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