Group asks appeals court for broader mail-in voting

By The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A federal appeals court is being asked to make mail-in ballots available to all Indiana voters for this fall’s election.

The appeal filed Tuesday by the nonprofit group Indiana Vote By Mail and several voters comes after a federal judge in Indianapolis rejected on Friday their request for a court order to extend the no-excuse mail-in balloting that Indiana allowed for the spring primary election because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Their appeal maintains that Indiana’s mail-in voting limits place an unconstitutional burden on those worried about coronavirus exposure but don’t meet the state’s excuse categories, including being 65 or older or being absent from their home counties on Election Day.

While most states make the option of mail-in voting widely available, U.S. District Judge James Patrick Hanlon wrote in his decision that state officials had discretion in how to allow mail-in voting and that voters not wanting to cast ballots on Election Day had the option of going to early voting sites for nearly a month beforehand.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb and other GOP leaders have turned aside calls from Democrats and others to lift the mail-in voting limits.

Indiana Vote By Mail argues no one should be deterred from voting.

“A reversal of Judge Hanlon’s unfavorable ruling will safeguard and promote public health by eliminating unnecessary in-person interactions and preventing COVID-19 transmissions at public polling locations where no enforcement measures are in place to require face masks or proper social distancing,” the group said.

More on