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Indiana

There are a wide variety of issue areas in which Indiana has opportunities to improve voter access, the most urgent being removing the “excuse” requirement for mail ballots. These improvements will bring Indiana one step closer to a more safe, efficient, and voter-friendly election process. As always, while policy is important, effective implementation is just as important.

As of 2021....

No Excuse Required

No Excuse Required

No excuse to vote by mail

Online Mail Ballot Application

Online Mail Ballot Application

Apply for mail ballot online

Robust Ballot Return Option

Robust Ballot Return Option

U.S. mail, drop boxes, vote centers, and more

Prepaid Postage

Prepaid Postage

Postage-paid return envelopes provided

Election Day Postmark Acceptance

Election Day Postmark Acceptance

Accepts ballots postmarked by Election Day

Ballot Tracking

Ballot Tracking

Online method to check ballot status

Signature Verification

Signature Verification

Voter signature verified before ballot is counted

Cure Process

Cure Process

Ability to correct issues so ballot can be counted

Preprocessing

Preprocessing

Election official may process ballot before Election Day

Opportunities

By passing legislation to allow voters to vote by mail ballot without needing an excuse (like the state was able to successfully do in the 2020 primaries), Indiana can give their citizens the opportunity to vote in whichever manner they find safest and most convenient. Additionally, an increase in mail ballots often means a decrease in both lines and costs.
Indiana can reduce costs and increase voter convenience by creating a permanent absentee option, where voters can sign up to automatically be sent an absentee ballot for each election without having to re-apply, to all voters. States experience significant savings with these lists; on average, states save $1 for every request they no longer need to process.
Indiana can increase voter confidence by allowing voters to track their ballot much like an Amazon package by improving its current ballot tracking system. Advanced ballot tracking systems can proactively notify voters when their ballot takes a new step in the path from being sent to them to finally being counted (or rejected). If a ballot is rejected, these ballot tracking tools can be used as another method to contact voters if there is a signature mismatch or deficiency on their return envelope.
Offering secure drop boxes as another method for voters to return ballots are a cost-effective way to reduce strain on the postal system, and are sometimes a preferred method by voters who want an extra bit of reassurance that their ballot makes it to the elections office on time. We highly recommend including provisions to allow for ballots to be received at polling places, vote centers, as well as other locations deemed necessary by the clerk.
Accepting ballots with Election Day postmarks received shortly after election day is a best practice to ensure that voters are given all options to vote their ballot in a timely manner, and one that Indiana already partially follows: Indiana already offers postmark acceptance for military and overseas voters. Accepting Election Day postmarks is estimated in most jurisdictions to decrease ballot rejection rates by half.

Recent Legislation

As of May 24, 2021

In response to the pandemic, the Indiana Election Commission allowed all Hoosiers to vote by mail in the summer primary of 2020. However, this was not extended to the general election, making Indiana one of only five states to not offer voting by mail without an excuse in the general election. Later in the year, a court ordered the state to create a cure process, where election officials give voters the chance to fix any correctable errors that would cause their ballots to be rejected.
In 2021, Indiana made a variety of changes to its election laws, including its new cure process permanent as well as adding a variety of technical improvements. Among these were:

This bill codified into law the cure process it was ordered to have in 2020 and requires that all votes cast have a voter verified paper trail (among other things).

This bill gave some counties more time to preprocess ballots (among other things).

This bill gave counties the option to allow clerks to add an early voting location for half of one particular day.

This bill makes a variety of technical changes relating to counting, electronic pollbooks, and other procedures.