Political party chairmen disagree on expanded mail-in voting for fall election

Despite coming to an agreement on allowing any voter to cast a ballot by mail in Tuesday’s primary, the leaders of Indiana’s two major political parties disagree on how to proceed in November.

To address concerns about the spread of COVID-19, the Indiana Election Commission in March expanded the option of voting by mail to any registered voter rather than requiring a voter to have a specific reason for needing to do so.

But the change only applied to the June 2 primary election. The commission has not made any changes to the Nov. 3 general election.

Indiana Republican Party Chairman Kyle Hupfer said he wants the November election to proceed as normal, without any expansion of voting by mail.

But Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody said he believes any voter should have the option to vote by mail in the fall. Democrats also want the deadline extended for when those ballots have to be returned. The deadline for absentee ballots is currently noon on Election Day.

Democratic members of the Election Commission argued to delay the deadline to return mail-in ballots prior to the primary, but the Republican members rejected the suggestion.

Zody said the high number of voters requesting ballots by mail is proof that Hoosiers like the option when it’s made widely available. In Marion County, more than 122,000 voters requested a ballot by mail. That’s more than 20 times the number of voters who cast a ballot by mail in the last presidential primary election, in 2016.

“We don’t know where we’ll be with public health,” Zody said. “But it’s obvious people want to use this process.”

However, Hupfer said the long lines at polling places on Tuesday indicated that people enjoy voting in person. In Marion County, some voters were still casting ballots hours after polls closed at 6 p.m. Any voter that was in line by 6 p.m. could still cast a ballot.

“It certainly seems like voters were pretty comfortable getting out and voting,” Hupfer said.

Hupfer said he’s advocating for returning the number of polling sites back to normal levels.

In Marion County, only 22 vote centers were open on Tuesday, compared to the typical 270.

Hupfer said 22 locations “was just too few.”

“We can’t have limited access,” Hupfer said. “People want to vote in person.”

Zody agreed that more polling places should be open on Election Day in November, but said he wouldn’t speculate on whether more locations should have been available on Tuesday.

“I think Marion County is doing the best they can,” Zody said.

Marion County election officials have previously said they struggled to recruit poll workers, and that was a significant factor in why polling locations were decreased so much.

Hupfer and Zody also agree on returning the number of in-person early voting days offered back to 28 days. In-person early voting for the primary was reduced to seven days out of public health concerns.

“I’m always going to advocate for as many voting opportunities as possible,” Zody said.

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13 thoughts on “Political party chairmen disagree on expanded mail-in voting for fall election

  1. What, the political parties disagree?? How about this…let both of them win. If I want to go to the polls to vote, I can. If I want to mail-in my ballot, I can do that too. You’re both thinking about it the wrong way. Focus more on the fact that you want everyone to vote. In person or mailed-in shouldn’t matter that much.

    Thanks,

    Kelly Ford

    1. We want legal, living citizens to vote once. If you can go to Kroger (or attend a protest / riot) … you can go to a polling location.

  2. The Republicans will never yield on this because it’s the most effective way to decrease turnout in Marion County they’ve ever had. This is how they hope to hold the 5th US House District – minimize Marion County turnout, maximize Hamilton County turnout.

    There were long lines because there weren’t enough locations because Marion County can’t get enough poll workers to risk their health to be in an enclosed location for 12+ hours. I don’t understand how you’re going to find enough volunteers to staff 270 locations on Election Day in the fall.

    I requested a mail-in ballot in Marion County and, despite a confirmation from the office, I never received a mail-in ballot. So I didn’t vote yesterday because I didn’t have time to wait in the extra-long lines.

    1. plan in advance … you are not anymore important than “regular people”. Stop inventing obstacles.

  3. 28 days for in-person early voting seems reasonable to me, provided the hours are convenient and not limited (i.e. making available on evenings and weekends). Also, I wonder how voter turnout would be impacted by extending voting hours to 7:00 or 8:00 (I think I know why). Other states do it, why not us?

  4. 1. Donald was able to vote by mail in his [now] home state of Florida…and he’s even got an errand boy with a private jet (Air Force 2) who could have hand delivered it for him. (Think of someone carrying the bucket around in “History of the World, Part I”.
    .
    2. I like to pose this type of question to people who seem to have a motivation for something – in this case, the Republicans:
    .
    “If your reason for putting a damper on mail-in voting is to suppress certain voters, would you admit it?”
    .
    (Sort of like, “if you killed John, would you admit it?” N.B. We didn’t ask if you killed him, we just asked if you did it, are you honest enough to say so? If you say “no”, we know you have no honor, and if you say “yes” and are found to lie, we know you have no honor.)

  5. Not allowing ease in securing absentee ballots is absurd. I am 78 and should not have to stand in line for hours in order to Due my duty as a citizen. Too much influence by Trump. No evidence of fraud. I hope Holcomb does Bend to the tea party

  6. Kelly is correct. I voted by mail and that would be my new preference over waiting in line Give people their preferred choice and that’s coming from a Republican in Hamilton!

  7. “However, Hupfer said the long lines at polling places on Tuesday indicated that people enjoy voting in person. In Marion County, some voters were still casting ballots hours after polls closed at 6 p.m. Any voter that was in line by 6 p.m. could still cast a ballot.”

    “In Marion County, only 22 vote centers were open on Tuesday, compared to the typical 270.”

    You don’t suppose the long lines had anything to do with the fact only 22 vote centers were open do you????? (sarcasm)

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