1920, and Congress passed the Voting Rights Act in 1965. To be legitimate, a democracy must take every possible step to ensure that citizens have the ability to exercise their right to vote, safely and freely. With COVID-19 again on the rise in Indiana, we know this pandemic is posing significant barriers to the ballot. Indiana Election officials must act now to enact no-excuse absentee voting, and to ensure every Hoosier has the means to execute their fundamental right to vote this November.
The letter asks for changes needed to conduct a safe and fair general election in 2020, including:
● No-excuse absentee voting to the 2020 General Election,
● Allow mail-in ballots to be counted if postmarked by Election Day on November 3, 2020, if received by November 9, 2020
● Allow safe drop-off locations in each Indiana county to collect absentee ballots through 6 pm on Election Day, November 3, 2020.
Vote Safe Indiana and our coalition partners believe that all Hoosiers deserve to vote in safe conditions. Indiana should not require voters to risk their lives to vote in the Indiana Primary.
Statement from Arielle Brandy, Vote Safe Indiana founding Board Member:
“Voting is a vital act for the future of our state and country. As a single mother, facing the greatest health crisis of my lifetime, it is important to me and all Hoosiers to have no-excuse absentee voting for a safe and fair election in 2020.”
Statement from Katie Blair, ACLU of Indiana Advocacy and Public Policy Director:
“Every elected official should advocate for every Hoosier voice to be heard at the ballot box.
Old-fashioned tactics will not meet the challenge this pandemic poses to our democracy.
America abandoned old-fashioned norms in voting when women gained the right to vote in
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 27, 2020
Media Contact: Brandon Evans
CHANGES NEEDED TO CONDUCT SAFE ELECTIONS IN 2020
INDIANAPOLIS-- Vote Safe Indiana is a nonpartisan nonprofit with the mission of improving safe voting rules amid the COVID-19 Pandemic.
With that goal, Vote Safe Indiana and coalition partners ACLU of Indiana, Vote.org, Indiana Vote By Mail, League of Women Voters of Indiana, Women 4 Change, Progressive Thought Matters, Greater Indianapolis NAACP, and Common Cause Indiana sent the attached letter today to Governor Holcomb, Secretary of State Lawson, and the Indiana Election Commission.
1. The decision to waive the requirement of an excuse on the absentee ballot application rests in the hands of the STATE Election Commission. Please contact the Indiana Election Commission: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Contact Governor Eric Holcomb’s office to voice your support for a NO-EXCUSE ABSENTEE BALLOT:
Message for email: I am asking you to support giving Hoosiers the option of casting by mail a NO-EXCUSE ABSENTEE BALLOT. It is critical that voters in November are not faced with the choice of exercising their right to vote or protecting their health. COVID-19 will remain a threat until a vaccine is found and is available to the public. Unfortunately, that will not occur by November; therefore, Indiana’s leaders must act NOW to ensure ALL voters have the SAFE option of casting their ballot by mail. This option was available to voters during the Primary and must be an option during the General Election.
Leaders cannot delay this decision. County clerks need time to plan and put in place the structures and resources necessary to guarantee a smooth election.
Partisan arguments and the false narrative of voter fraud cannot be allowed to determine whether Hoosiers have a safe voting option in the General Election. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, “Mail ballot fraud is incredibly rare, and legitimate security concerns can be easily addressed.” Claims by the White House that “people cheat with mail-in voting” is a fraudulent excuse, and if it is used to deter states from approving a statewide mail in ballot option in November, “they will be deadly wrong.” (https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/false-narrative-vote-mail-fraud).
Do not create long lines increasing the danger of transmission, and do not disenfranchise voters by failing to protect the voters’ ability to vote without risk to their health. Please take the necessary action to make sure all Hoosiers have the option to vote safe using a NO-EXCUSE BALLOT. Ensure a fair vote in November. Thank you.
[When you sign your name, include the name of your League.]