Indiana group asks court to hear mail voting suit

By The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — A voting rights group is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider its lawsuit that aimed to make mail-in ballots available to all Indiana voters for last fall’s election.

Attorneys for the advocacy group Indiana Vote By Mail argue in the petition filed Friday that the state law allowing no-excuse mail balloting by those ages 65 and older infringes on the constitutional rights of those younger.

Indiana’s mail-in voting law limits such ballot to those who fall into one of 11 categories, including being 65 or older, having a disability or being absent from their home county or working throughout Election Day voting hours.

Bill Groth, an attorney representing voters named in the lawsuit, said even though the 2020 election is over, his clients are still seeing their constitutional rights infringed by Indiana law.

“Younger voters thus have less opportunity to vote than older voters,” Groth said.

The group sued Indiana election officials last year, seeking a court order to extend the no-excuse mail-in balloting that Indiana allowed for the spring 2020 primary because COVID-19 exposure risks at polling sites to the general election.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb and other state GOP officials rejected such an extension and a federal appeals court ruled in October that state officials had discretion in how to allow mail voting.

Republicans who dominate the state Legislature have turned aside attempts by Democrats during this year’s legislative session to allow no-excuse mail balloting. Republican lawmakers maintain that that voters have plenty of opportunity to cast ballots without excuse at in-person early voting sites for nearly a month ahead of Election Day.

The state attorney general’s office didn’t immediately reply Monday to a request for comment on the appeal.

Voting rights groups and both political parties contested election rules in many states ahead of last year's election, with many lawsuits over expanding access to mail-in voting. More than 200 lawsuits were filed across the country over voting procedures.

It is uncertain whether the Supreme Court will consider the Indiana case, as it only hears a small percentage of the appeals it receives.

The Indiana group’s appeal argues that the justices should decide how the 26th Amendment that lowered the voting age to 18 should apply to mail-in voting. The appeal says bill have been introduced in at least nine states to restrict mail-in voting, either by eliminating “no-excuse” mail voting or narrowing the allowed reasons.

“These proposals, if enacted into law, may result in large numbers of voters losing their right to vote by mail — including losing that right on account of their age,” the appeal said.

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