Indiana’s absentee ballot deadline extended by federal court

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INDIANAPOLIS — The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana extended the state’s absentee ballot deadline Tuesday.

According to the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, the ruling said mail-in ballots postmarked by November 3 and received up to 10 days after Election Day can be counted.

Before Tuesday, the absentee ballot return deadline was noon on Election Day.

The case was brought by Common Cause Indiana & the Indiana State Conference of the NAACP, Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, the National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

“This is a huge win for Hoosier voters,” said Julia Vaughn, policy director at Common Cause Indiana. “Indiana has seen a surge in requests for mail-in ballots and this ruling will help ensure all those voters who choose to vote by mail do not face the unnecessary barrier of an overly strict return deadline in making their voice heard.”

“Indiana’s early deadline would have posed a particular risk to the voting rights of young voters and voters of color,” said attorney Jenny Terrell of Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. “This ruling will certainly help avoid mass disenfranchisement for all Hoosiers.”

“Before this ruling, If your ballot was delivered to the Election Office at say 12:10 pm instead of the noon deadline on Election Day, your ballot would have been rejected. Voting absentee by mail is a safe and now certain option for voters,” said NAACP President of the Indiana State Conference Barbara Bolling-Williams.

Indianapolis attorneys Bill Groth and Mark Sniderman represented Common Cause Indiana and the Indiana State Conference of the NAACP in the case.

Groth said, “With yesterday’s ruling and another last month by the same federal court, Hoosiers who choose to vote safely from home during this unprecedented health emergency can now rest assured that their absentee ballot will be counted, rather than being rejected based on factors beyond their control.”

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