Election Panel Recommends Changes To Improve Voting Access

20 Oct Election Panel Recommends Changes To Improve Voting Access

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The General Assembly is studying ways to make voting more accessible.

An Indiana study committee panel recommended Thursday the General Assembly explore ways to make voting and voter registration more accessible.

Elections Study Committee Chairman Sen. Greg Walker (R-Columbus) says he will draft a bill next session to allow a person to register and vote on Election Day. Indiana’s current system cuts off registration about a month before.

Walker says he’ll also push for greater use of vote by mail and he’ll start with a small change to the state’s current system. Indiana uses vote by mail for absentee ballots, and Walker says he wants to make that easier.

“I have a draft that would remove the requirements to state an excuse for why you might vote absentee,” Walker says.

Committee member Rep. Kathy Richardson (R-Noblesville) is also the Hamilton County elections administrator (and former clerk). She’s open to same-day registration but she says counties first need access to statewide voter registration data on Election Day, to ensure people aren’t registered elsewhere.

And she says any changes won’t happen quickly.

“Maybe down the road but, yeah, 2018’s too soon,” Richardson says.

Richardson says she’s less optimistic about vote by mail and expressed concerns about how to make that system secure.

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