Study Committee Hears Testimony On Election Reform

Sep 26, 2017

Public testimony in a legislative study commission on Indiana election laws Tuesday focused on redistricting reform and a vote-by-mail system.

The hearing continues a thorough study of the state’s voting laws that began last month.

Nearly everyone who testified to the election committee started by citing low voter turnout numbers, then offered a variety of solutions.

Julia Vaughn is policy director for Common Cause Indiana, an advocacy group focused on election reform. Vaughn says redistricting reform is key to increasing voter turnout, because she says gerrymandering – the drawing of legislative maps to skew the results for one party - creates too many landslide victories.

“Indiana voters have shown they will participate when their involvement actually has an impact on the outcome,” Vaughn says.

A bill to change how the state draws its districts was quickly killed at the Statehouse last session.

Some at the hearing advocated for a vote-by-mail system, where ballots are sent to the voter’s home. The committee heard from an official in Colorado, where the system has been implemented.

But Committee Chair Republican Senator Greg Walker says it might not be an easy fit for Indiana.