Lawmakers Cite Conflicting Reasons For Why Absentee Voting Bill Died

Mar 30, 2018

A bill to expand Indiana’s absentee voting law couldn’t make it over the finish line in 2018 as House Republicans blocked the bill from a hearing.

And House GOP members have conflicting explanations for why the bill died.

Under Indiana law, you have to provide a reason you can’t vote on Election Day to get an absentee ballot. Proposed legislation eliminated that requirement, allowing any voter to vote by mail. But Rep. Milo Smith (R-Columbus) says there was no need for it – he doesn’t know anyone who’s ever been denied such a ballot.

“When you apply for an absentee, you could write on there, ‘I think I’m going to have a toothache on Election Day’ and they’re not going to deny you an absentee ballot,” Smith says.

But Rep. Kathy Richardson (R-Noblesville) says the bill’s failure was because members of her caucus didn’t like the way it expanded the vote-by-mail system.

I think they’re just a little nervous about voter fraud still and that mail is the one place that it could show up, more so than early voting in person,” Richardson says.

Richardson says the bill could have a better chance in future sessions.