Indiana flubs election security: taxpayers to spend $10+ million on questionable machines | Margaret Menge/Crosssroads Report

In March, Indiana made what may be seen for years to come as a colossal mistake for election integrity. With almost no discussion, a bill authored by Rep. Timothy Wesco, R-Osceola, was pushed through the Indiana General Assembly to add a paper audit trail to voting machines that are used in 57 of 92 Indiana counties. The problem is, the printers that are supposed to add that paper audit trail don’t produce real paper ballots that can be easily counted by hand in a post-election audit or recount. What they do is print on a roll of narrow, thermal paper that remains inside the machine. Shockingly, Rep. Wesco, the chairman of the House elections committee, appeared to lie about this in testimony before the Indiana Senate appropriations committee on February 24 — the last committee to hear the bill before it was to go to the full Senate to be voted on, saying “there is a ballot that is printed out that the voter verifies.” Wesco was refuting testimony from the one citizen who testified that day — Barbara Tully of Indiana Vote by Mail, who told the senators on the committee that no paper comes out of the machine — that the machines do not produce real paper ballots. A senator questioned Wesco, and he affirmed his testimony, saying “correct,” when the senator asked if the machine prints out a piece of paper that the voter can look at. Bizarrely, Wesco again reiterated what he’d said in his testimony, that this paper is inserted into another machine. Nothing like this happens with a VVPAT.

Full Article:Indiana flubs election security: taxpayers to spend $10+ million on questionable machines

Indiana: Cost to add paper trail for voting machines will be more than $1 million in some counties | Margaret Menge/The Center Square

Two counties in Indiana now using paperless voting machines will each require an estimated $1.2 million worth of additional equipment to add a paper audit trail before the next presidential election. A bill signed earlier this month by Gov. Eric Holcomb requires paper backups for all voting machines in the state by July 1, 2024. Specifically, it requires the 59 counties that use MicroVote voting machines, which are all-electronic and don’t involve a paper ballot, to have “voter verifiable paper audit trail” – or vvpat –printers to retrofit all machines by July 1 of 2024. The printers attach to the MicroVote Infinity voting machines with a cord, and contain a roll of paper tape, similar to cash register tape, that voters can view behind a glass window to verify their selections are correct before casting their vote. In Allen County, the Director of Elections Amy Scrogham says it will cost about $1.2 million to buy vvpats for all of their MicroVote machines. The county has 715 machines, but only 160 vvpats. “We haven’t used them yet,” she says of the vvpats, explaining she decided not to start using them for the first time during the 2020 election, fearing it would overburden election workers who were already dealing with pandemic-related issues. In Hamilton County, Elections Administrator Beth Sheller said the last estimate from MicroVote was a cost of $2,230 for each vvpat printer and a case to carry it in. Hamilton County, she says, has 693 MicroVote voting machines and now has 150 vvpats.

Full Article: Cost to add paper trail for voting machines will be more than $1 million in some Indiana counties | Indiana | thecentersquare.com

Indiana governor signs bill requiring paper backup for all voting machines by 2024 | Margaret Menge/The Center Square

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a bill recently that requires all counties using MicroVote voting machines to have a paper trail before the next presidential election in 2024. More than half of the counties in Indiana now use MicroVote voting machines – machines that have no paper record showing votes cast, making it impossible for election workers or outside officials to do a risk-limiting audit following an election, or to recount votes in the event of a close election or a legal contest. The new law requires counties using MicroVote machines to have external printers for all of these machines by July 1, 2024 – printers called vvpats, for voter verified paper audit trail. Before the bill being signed this week, counties had until December 2029 under state law to either replace their MicroVote voting machines or buy vvpats for all of them. The vvpats attach to the voting machines and record votes on a roll of thermal paper that stays inside the machine, similar to an internal cash register tape. Voters are to verify their votes by looking through a clear glass or plastic window on the voting machine after voting to see the selections on the paper match the candidate selections they just made. At a hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Feb. 24, Barbara Tully, of Indiana Vote by Mail, testified in opposition to vvpats, saying the entire voting rights community opposes vvpats and they are “troublesome for a number of reasons” – including that the thermal paper can smudge easily and unlike actual paper ballots, they are difficult to use in an election audit.

Full Article: Indiana governor signs bill requiring paper backup for all voting machines by 2024 | State | shelbynews.com

Indiana lawmakers say they want to secure elections. Voting groups say the focus is wrong | Kaitlin Lange/Indianapolis Star

Indiana lawmakers are advancing legislation that they say would further ensure confidence in Indiana’s elections amid a national focus on election security. But voting rights groups say the state is focusing on the wrong tactics with House Bill 1116, which passed out of the Senate elections committee on Monday despite opposition from Democrats. In order to request an absentee mail-in ballot online under the legislation, a voter would have to provide either their driver’s license number or the last four digits of the their Social Security number. State election officials say the bill codifies a process that was already implemented in 2020 when online ballot requests were first allowed and agreed upon by the co-directors of the Indiana Election Division. Voting rights groups, though, argue the requirement could limit who decides to request a ballot. Indiana Vote by Mail, Indiana League of Women Voters, Verified Voting and Free Speech For People sent a letter to lawmakers emphasizing that outfitting Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines with printers produces a paper trail that is “difficult or impossible” for Hoosiers to verify their votes or for election officials to use in audits. The font can be challenging to read and thermal paper used can rip or fade, the groups said in their letter.

Full Article: Indiana voting rights to look different under bills in House, Senate

Indiana: Voting Groups Urge Move to Paper Election Ballots | Tom Davies/Associated Press

A proposal for improving Indiana’s election security by adding small printers to thousands of electronic touch-screen voting machines is being criticized by voting rights groups as relying on ineffective and outdated technology. An Indiana Senate committee is scheduled to consider a bill Monday that includes moving up the deadline for counties to add such devices to any paperless voting machines to July 2024, 5-1/2 years earlier than current state law. The Indiana League of Women Voters, Indiana Vote by Mail and other groups argue that the state should end the use of all such machines and have all counties use paper ballots that voters mark before they are scanned for counting. The voting rights organizations said in a letter Thursday to legislators that the printer technology relies on lightweight thermal paper that is easily damaged and lets voters see only a portion of their ballot at a time through a small window. They call the estimated $2,600-per-machine price tag “an extraordinary cost for a poor solution.”

Full Article: Voting Groups Urge Indiana Move to Paper Election Ballots | Indiana News | US News

Indiana House restores 2024 deadline for counties to install paper backups on voting machines | Brandon Smith/IPB

The Indiana House has reversed course, restoring language in a bill that will move up the deadline for counties to install a vital election security measure. Current law requires counties to have paper backup systems for their electronic voting machines by 2030. A bill this session, HB 1116, would move that date up to July 2024. But the House Ways and Means committee eliminated that change because it costs money – about $12 million. Then, on the House floor Thursday, Ways and Means Chair Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville) put the July 2024 deadline back into the bill.

Full Article: House restores 2024 deadline for counties to install paper backups on voting machines

Indiana looks to require voting machines with paper ballot backups by 2024 | Margaret Menge/Princeton Daily Clarion

The Indiana General Assembly recently passed a bill out of that requires all counties in the state to have voting machines with at least some paper ballot backups by July 1, 2024. State law now says counties have until Dec. 31, 2029 to replace voting machines with no paper backup, and the Republican supermajority in the Indiana General Assembly has resisted calls to move this up to an earlier date, until now. House Bill 1116 requires counties using Direct Recording Electronic device (DREs) machine that has no paper ballot backups will either have to replace them or make sure that they have attachments called Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail [VVPAT] printers for at least 10% of all voting machines by July 1, 2024. The bill says the “audit trail” or paper ballot that is produced by the voting machine must include the following information: the name or code of the election; the date of the election; the date the audit trail [paper ballot] was printed; a security code and record number specific to each paper receipt assigned by the voting system; the name or designation of the voter’s precinct; the name or designation of each office on the voter’s ballot; the name of the candidate and the designation of the candidate’s political party selected by the voter; if the voter selects a straight-party ticket, the name of the political party the voter selected and a description of the text of any public question or judicial retention question and the response the voter selected.

Full Article: Indiana looks to require voting machines with paper ballot backups by 2024 | State | pdclarion.com

Indiana: US Supreme Court declines to hear absentee ballot case | Josh Doering/WISH

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal of a lawsuit seeking to require Indiana to offer mail-in voting to all residents. The lawsuit argued Indiana’s requirement that absentee voters be at least 65 years old violates the 26th Amendment: “The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.” By declining to hear the case, the Supreme Court allows a federal appeals court’s ruling in favor of the state to stand and keeps the absentee voting requirements in place. The appeals court ruled the requirements for mail-in voting do not violate the 26th Amendment because they don’t prevent anyone from exercising their right to vote.

Full Article: US Supreme Court declines to hear Indiana absentee ballot case – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana Weather | Indiana Traffic

Indiana to pass bill to forbid voting machines from being connected to the Internet | Margaret Menge/Kokomo Perspective

The Indiana Senate heard two election bills this week that would make several changes to how elections are conducted in the state. Both bills have already passed the House and are expected to pass the Senate on Thursday and be sent on to Gov. Eric Holcomb for his signature. One of the bills, HB 1365, would prohibit voting machines in the state from being connected to the Internet – a hot topic following the Nov. 3 presidential election, when cybersecurity experts testified at hearings in several states that voting machines were connected to the Internet on Election Day even though election officials believed they were not. Five different kinds of voting machines are approved for use in Indiana, including those made by Dominion Voting Systems, Election Systems & Software (ES&S), Hart InterCivic, Inc., MicroVote General Corp. and Unisyn Voting Solutions. Dominion, Hart InterCivic and ES&S have all acknowledged they install modems in their voting machines, so voting results can more easily be relayed to the state and the public. Experts say that even when connected to the Internet for only a short amount of time, voting machines can be compromised, which is likely the reason another provision was included the bill that requires a voting system to contain features to ensure “unauthorized” software has not been installed. But this provision in the bill would also “permit the adjudication of voter intent” on voting machines.

Full Article: Indiana to pass bill to forbid voting machines from being connected to the Internet | Indiana | kokomoperspective.com

Indiana: Evansville lawmaker named new secretary of state | Tom Davies/Associated Press

A legislator from Evansville who is the second-ranking officer in the state Republican Party was sworn in Tuesday as Indiana’s new secretary of state, taking over an office that oversees election issues statewide. Gov. Eric Holcomb announced his selection of Republican state Rep. Holli Sullivan for the position. Sullivan replaced outgoing Secretary of State Connie Lawson, who said last month she was resigning with nearly two years left to her elected term. Sullivan was first elected to the Indiana House in 2014 and won a new term in last November’s election. She has also been the state Republican Party’s vice chair since 2019. Lawson worked with Holcomb and other Republican leaders in allowing no-excuse mail-in voting for last year’s spring primary early in the coronavirus pandemic. But Lawson joined them in blocking a push by Democrats and voting rights groups to lift the mail-in ballot limits for the November election. Sullivan showed no divergence from that stance Tuesday, saying her top priority would be “free, fair, and secure elections, ensuring that all Hoosiers know that their vote counts.” Sullivan didn’t give any specifics when asked what steps should be taken to improve Indiana’s consistently low voter turnout, which was 65% of registered voters last fall.

Full Article: Evansville lawmaker named new Indiana secretary of state

Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson to resign – ‘2020 took a toll on me’ | Kaitlin Lange/Indianapolis Star

Republican Secretary of State Connie Lawson announced Monday that she is stepping down.  “Like many Hoosiers, 2020 took a toll on me,” Lawson said in a statement. “I am resigning so I can focus on my health and my family. I will work with Governor Holcomb to ensure our next Secretary of State is up to the task and has the tools and resources to hit the ground running.” She said she will submit a formal resignation once Gov. Eric Holcomb selects her successor and he or she is ready to serve. Lawson is the longest serving secretary of state in Indiana history.  Former Gov. Mitch Daniels appointed Lawson in 2012 after Secretary of State Charlie White was removed from office when he was convicted of six Class D felony charges, including voter fraud, perjury and theft. Lawson was subsequently elected in 2014 by more than 17 percentage points and then reelected in 2018 by almost 16 percentage points. She would have been up for reelection again in 2022. 

Source: Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson to resign

Indiana lawmakers call for commission on election integrity | Indiana | Margaret Menge/The Center Square

Two Indiana legislators have introduced a bill calling for the formation of a Commission on Election Integrity that would review the security of all voting machines used in the state and consider whether election laws should be changed to increase confidence in the vote. Reps. Curt Nisly, R-Milford, and John Jacob, R-Indianapolis, introduced the bill in the Indiana House of Representatives to form a nine-person bipartisan commission to make recommendations dealing with voting machines, the handling of voter data, voter rolls and relationships between election officials and voting machine vendors. The commission would be tasked with finding outside experts to assess the security of all voting machines and also look at whether absentee voting laws should be tightened, with fewer reasons for voting absentee allowed and early voting possibly curbed. Other provisions of the bill include having the commission look at requiring that any absentee, provisional and military ballots that are not counted in the presence of observers from both political parties and all candidates be excluded from vote totals, and requiring that counties do risk-limiting audits before certification of an election, with paper ballots hand-counted in at least 10% of precincts, as a check against the machine totals. Unlike some other states, Indiana doesn’t currently require risk-limiting audits. County clerks may order hand recounts when questions arise, but in most elections they rely solely on machine tallies. Voting systems certified for use in the state include those made by: Dominion, ES&S, Hart InterCivic, MicroVote and Unisyn. The machines are tested and recommended for certification by VSTOP, the Voting Systems Technical Oversight Program at Ball State University, run by a computer science professor and a criminal justice professor.

Full Article: Indiana lawmakers call for commission on election integrity | Indiana | thecentersquare.com

Indiana: Blind Voters Sue State to Improve Voting Access | Suzanne Potter/Public News Service

A group of blind voters is suing to force the state of Indiana to make absentee balloting more accessible. Blind voters now have only two options in Indiana: They can vote in person, using voting machines that read their choices aloud as they are made; or they can ask a pair of bipartisan election officials from the “traveling board” to come to their house and help them fill out the ballot. Jelena Kolic, a staff attorney with Disability Rights Advocates, said other states provide special online voting options. “They deserve to participate fully in our democracy, and to know that their vote is private and that it’s being counted,” she said. “And that didn’t happen for some of the blind residents in Indiana this year.” That’s because, during the pandemic, the traveling board failed to show up at some voters’ homes. Voting in person is especially challenging for people with visual impairments, who have to touch a lot of surfaces in order to get around, raising the risk of contracting COVID-19.

Full Article: Blind Voters Sue State of Indiana to Improve Voting Access / Public News Service

Indiana: Vigo County vote will go through risk-limiting audit | Howard Greninger/Terre Haute Tribune-Star

Vigo County’s 2020 general election results will undergo a risk-limiting audit, overseen by Ball State University, that will sample ballots cast in various areas of the election — from early voting sites, votes cast before election boards, by mail and in person on election day. The Vigo County Election Board Friday unanimously voted to approve the audit, which will take one to two days and conducted through the Voting System Technical Oversight Program at Ball State University. The audit is to be done in February, LaDonna Ingram, deputy clerk in the county’s Absentee Voting Office, told the Vigo County Election Board. The audit “doesn’t change the outcome of the election. It verifies that what our results say are true,” Ingram said. Not all races will be audited, but at least one state level race and one county level race will be audited, as well as potentially a judicial retention race or federal level race, Ingram said. “At the end of it, what a risk-limiting audit does and the goal of a risk-limiting audit is to instill voter confidence in the election that you run,” Ingram said. The audit determines a percentage of certainty that election results are correct, she said. “What is on your paper ballots is what was tabulated through your system. It is not a bad thing at all, but is actually a good thing for Vigo County voters that we are running an election with high integrity. It is a fairly new process,” Ingram said.

Full Article: Vigo County vote will go through risk-limiting audit | Local News | tribstar.com

Indiana: Incoming State Attorney General Rokita urging U.S. Supreme Court to throw out 20.4 million ballots to aid Trump | Dan Carden/Northwest Indiana Times

Indiana’s former chief elections officer and its next attorney general is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to toss out the votes of 20.4 million Americans in four states to help secure a second term for Republican President Donald Trump. Republican Attorney General-elect Todd Rokita, a Munster native, announced his support Tuesday for a lawsuit filed by the state of Texas that seeks scuttle all the votes cast for president in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia, and to have the Republican-controlled legislatures in those states appoint Trump electors, instead of the Joe Biden electors chosen by the people. Texas claims officials in all four states altered their election laws without legislative approval under the guise of the COVID-19 pandemic, triggering such rampant voter fraud, particularly with mail-in ballots, that the extraordinary remedy of throwing out every vote is required. Records show the evidence for Texas’ allegations has been summarily rejected by numerous federal courts and election officials in the four states, and indeed all 50 states, which have certified their election results notwithstanding Trump’s continuing allegations of fraud. Nevertheless, Rokita said millions of Indiana citizens “have deep concerns” about the presidential election, particularly as “some in the media and the political class simply try to sidestep legitimate issues raised about the election for the sake of expediency.”

Full Article: Rokita urging U.S. Supreme Court to throw out 20.4 million ballots to aid Trump | Government and Politics | nwitimes.com

Indiana: Court says only election officials can request polling extensions | Johnny Magdaleno/Indianapolis Star

Court says only Indiana election officials can request polling extensions | Johnny Magdaleno/Indianapolis StarHoosiers will not be able to request that their polling places stay open longer on Nov. 3 after a federal appeals court upheld an Indiana election law that gives county election officials the sole power to make those requests. A three-judge panel on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that the election law, which was signed into effect by Gov. Eric Holcomb in 2019, does not infringe on Hoosiers’ right to vote.The ruling also said that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana executed poor judgment in its original ruling in September against the election law because the court acted too close to the Nov. 3 elections.  “Just like voters had many months since the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic ensued in this country this March to adjust to the election rules, plaintiff had more than a year to challenge these amendments,” wrote the judges, referring to voting rights group Common Cause Indiana. “The problems plaintiff alleges with the amendments are not new, yet plaintiff asks that these duly enacted statutes be suspended on the eve of the election.”

Indiana: Lawsuit challenges Indiana limits on voting time extensions | Tom Davies/Associated Press

An Indiana law violates the U.S. Constitution by blocking voters and candidates from asking courts to keep polling places open past the state’s 6 p.m. closing time because of Election Day troubles, a voting rights group argued in a lawsuit filed Wednesday. The law passed by Indiana’s Republican-dominated Legislature in 2019 prevents anyone other than a county election board, which oversee voting matters, from requesting court orders to extend voting hours. The lawsuit filed in federal court in Indianapolis on behalf of Common Cause Indiana cites equipment troubles, delays in opening polling sites and ballot shortages during the November 2018 elections in Johnson, Porter and Monroe counties. It argues that the state law wrongly thwarts voters and political parties from protecting the right to vote. “Shutting the courthouse doors to voters and erecting a multi-step process to obtain an extension of polling-place hours to correct irregularities places a severe and unconstitutional burden on all Indiana voters,” the lawsuit said.

Indiana: Judge orders Secretary of State to produce documents on voting-machine security | John Russell/Indianapolis Business Journal

A Marion County Superior Court judge has ordered Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson to produce documents to back up her claim that the public should not see emails and other communications about the reliability and security of voting machines because they could jeopardize cyberterrorism security. Judge Heather Welch ruled Tuesday that Lawson did not provide adequate justification for withholding the materials and ordered her to produce some of the documents for inspection in chambers. In a 27-page ruling, the judge ordered Lawson to submit the materials that she had withheld based on the counterterrorism exception so that she may examine them in private. A spokesman for Lawson declined comment on Wednesday. The matter arose after a national group of cybersecurity experts sued Lawson last year, saying she has refused to turn over emails and other communications about the reliability and security of voting machines, despite numerous requests.

Indiana: Republican state leaders may limit use of mail-in ballots for November general election | Dan Carden/NWITimes

Hoosiers who appreciated the convenience and safety of voting by mail in Tuesday’s primary election may nevertheless be forced to cast their ballot in-person, at a polling place, for the Nov. 3 general election. Gov. Eric Holcomb and Secretary of State Connie Lawson declined to say Wednesday whether mail-in voting will continue to be available to all Hoosiers in future elections, or if the opportunity to vote by mail again will be limited to only those with a specific excuse for being unable to vote in person. The Indiana Election Commission authorized no excuse mail-in voting for this year’s rescheduled primaries due to the coronavirus pandemic and based on the bipartisan recommendation of the leaders of Indiana’s Republican and Democratic parties. Since that time, however, Republican President Donald Trump repeatedly has called on states to scrap mail-in voting, by claiming — without evidence — the mail-in process, which Trump used to cast his own primary election ballot in Florida, is riddled with fraud.

Indiana: State won’t change mail-in ballot deadline despite worries | Tom Davies/Associated Press

Indiana’s top election official on Friday rejected a request for extending the deadline for returning mail-in ballots for next week’s primary election, despite worries that thousands of them could arrive late and go uncounted. Some voters scattered around the state have complained about not receiving mail-in ballots that they requested as election officials encouraged voting by mail to lessen the risk of coronavirus exposure Tuesday at in-person polling sites. State figures show nearly 550,000 voters across Indiana requested mail-in ballots — more than 10 times the number of those ballots cast during the 2016 primary — and more than 300,000 have been returned through Thursday. Marion County Clerk Myla Eldridge, who oversees the election staff in Indianapolis, sent a letter Thursday to state officials asking them to extend the deadline that requires mail-in ballots arrive at county election offices by noon Tuesday while polling sites remain open.

Indiana: Clerk warns state officials that thousands of mail-in ballots might not be counted; voters can still go to polls | Lesley Weidenbener/Indianapolis Business Journal

Thousands of voters in Marion County who planned to vote by mail in Tuesday’s election may not have the opportunity because they won’t receive their ballots in time, Marion County Clerk Myla Eldridge told state officials in a letter Thursday. In addition, some voters who mailed in their absentee ballots might not have them counted because they won’t reach the Clerk’s Office by a noon deadline on Election Day, Eldridge said in the memo to Secretary of State Connie Lawson and copied to Gov. Eric Holcomb and other local and state officials. Eldridge told state officials “it is not too late” to extend the deadline for receipt of mailed ballots. She implored the Indiana Election Commission to act. “What a shame it will be for voters and candidates if thousands of votes sit in stacks uncounted under these circumstances,” she wrote. Even without an extension, most voters have options. Those who did not receive a ballot or who fear their ballot won’t make back to the Clerk’s Office by a noon deadline on Election Day can still go to the polls in person to cast a vote or drop off their mail-in ballots. Eldridge said in her letter that COVID-19-related staffing issues and significant delays at the U.S. Postal Service have contributed to the county’s difficulty in processing 123,000 applications from residents who want to vote by mail. That’s 20 times the number of mail-in ballots voters requested during the 2016 primary election, the last time a presidential race was on the ballot.

Indiana: Virus stings county election budgets | Dave Gong/The Journal Gazette

Voting in a pandemic presents unique challenges for county election officials who anticipate cost increases, especially in postage expenses, as many voters turn to mailed-in absentee ballots for Indiana’s June 2 primary. The Allen County Election Board estimates it received about 38,000 applications for absentee ballots, Beth Dlug, the county’s director of elections, said Friday. About 2,800 people requested ballots during the 2016 presidential primary, Dlug said. The deadline to request an absentee ballot was 11:59 p.m. Thursday. More than 20,000 ballots have been returned to the Election Board; the deadline for their return to local election boards is noon on Election Day. That has meant a drastic increase in the cost to run the election in Allen County, Dlug said. “We have already gone through our year’s budget for postage and so we’re moving funds around from one line-item to the other,” she said. “This election will be overall much more expensive than an election that would be mainly electronic.”

Indiana: No PPE required: State orders no restrictions on voting | Gus Pearcy/Pharos Tribune

County clerks across Indiana were notified this week by the Indiana Election Division that voters cannot be required to be screened for COVID-19 or forced to wear masks, use hand sanitizer, wash their hands or even respect social distancing guidelines when showing up to vote in person. “You don’t want to have anything perceived as voter suppression or requirements of the voter over and above just coming in and voting,” Boone County attorney Bob Clutter said about the development which he said he hadn’t considered. “You know, the screening might make some people uncomfortable and you don’t want to do anything that would in any way inhibit their way to vote.” The Boone County Courthouse is currently closed to the public. However, people who have business with the courts and all employees are being screened before entering the courthouse with a series of questions about exposure or symptoms of COVID-19. All entrants are also having their temperatures taken. Anyone whose temperature is 100.4 or above is not allowed to enter. Voters will not be subjected to the screening.

Indiana: Secretary of State buys, distributes PPE to make primary election safer | Niki Kelly/The Journal Gazette

Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson has purchased and distributed thousands of personal protective items to make the June 2 primary election safe, she said Friday. Meanwhile, state officials have also started the process of identifying the federal money local units of government can receive for unexpected COVID-19 expenses. Indiana continues to see cases of the virus rise — 614 new cases, for a total of 26,665 Friday. There were 42 new deaths for a total of 1,550. Another 41 Allen County residents have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the county’s total to 957 cases and 64 deaths Friday. Lawson said the Indiana National Guard has handled receiving, sorting and shipping of the supplies to counties around the state. Some counties have already received the equipment and the rest will be sent out next week.

Indiana: Lawsuit seeks no-excuse absentee voting for general election | Tribune Star

A dozen people including two members of the nonprofit Indiana Vote by Mail organization on Wednesday filed a federal class-action lawsuit against the Indiana Election Commission and Indiana Secretary of State. The lawsuits seeks to expand no-excuse absentee voting to the November general election. The lawsuit contends the state’s election law allowing some — but not all — registered voters to vote by mail violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitutions and the Equal Privileges and Immunities Clause of the Indiana Constitution. The lawsuit includes 12 plaintiffs, including two of whom are members of the Indiana Vote by Mail, which is based in Indianapolis.

Indiana: Counties preparing for mail-in voting surge as voters seek to stay home | Sara Barker and Steve Garbacz/KPC News

Standing in line close together then touching the same machine everyone else in your neighborhood has touched might not be the best way to vote during a pandemic. Now, county clerks and elections workers are preparing to hurdle obstacles that would make primary voting safe and accessible to everyone. Part of this is complying with an order handed down from the Indiana Secretary of State’s office, which is somewhat of a compromise between in-person and absentee voting. To come up with that voting plan, the Secretary of State’s office surveyed clerks of whether they’d like to see mailed ballots or in-person votes. Indiana Democrats had pushed for an entirely vote-by-mail primary due to coronavirus, but the state election commission didn’t choose to go that far.

Indiana: Voting rights advocates call on Election Commission to provide more flexibility | Erica Irish/Goshen News

Indiana voting rights advocates joined an Indiana Election Commission meeting Wednesday to push for expanded flexibility in the upcoming state primary, which was moved to June 2 last month in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Julia Vaughn, policy director for Common Cause Indiana, told the commission members at their third virtual Zoom meeting that while their decision to move the primary date and to expand absentee voting were positive first steps, Hoosiers need more options. “You are operating in unprecedented times, and you really need to be thinking creatively and in ways that you probably never envisioned having to think about in the administration of elections in Indiana,” Vaughn said. “It’s going to be a challenging election period for voters, for election administrators, for county-level officials.”

Indiana: Election commission approves in-person early voting the week before the June 2 primary | Alexandra Kukulka/Chicago Tribune

Early voting at the polls will be limited to the week before the June 2 primary election, according to a recent decision by the Indiana Election Commission. On March 20, Gov. Eric Holcomb announced that the state’s primary election will be moved from May 5 to June 2 because of the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Secretary of State Connie Lawson said March 20 that her office, along with the chairmen of the Indiana Republican and Democratic parties, agreed to postpone the election to June and they created recommendations for the Indiana Election Commission to consider. The election commission met March 25 and approved 11 recommendations, including allowing everyone to cast an absentee ballot by mail “without having a specific reason to do so,” grandfathering absentee ballots already received and moving all election dates by 28 days, according to a Secretary of State Office press release.

Indiana: State to Offer Limited In-Person Voting at Upcoming Primary Election | Lauren Stone/NBC Chicago

While Indiana officials are encouraging mail-in absentee voting, the state will still have in-person voting for its pushed-back primary election on June 2. At Thursday’s coronavirus briefing, Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson updated Hoosiers on the upcoming election that was previously moved from May 5 to June 2 over growing concerns of spreading the coronavirus. Lawson said early in-person voting will take place, but will be limited. Instead of the typical 28 days prior to the primary, voters can cast an early in-person ballot from May 26 through June 1. “These recommendations come after many discussions with county clerks and election staff, the state parties, the Indiana election division,” Lawson said, “and they represent what we believe to be best practices for an unprecedented election cycle.” Lawson encouraged voters to double check their polling locations before leaving home to cast a ballot and addressed safety concerns over in-person voting at these precincts.

Indiana: ‘A logistical nightmare’: Local counties preparing for mail-in election | Max Lewis/WSBT

“A logistical nightmare” is how county clerks are describing Indiana’s now June primary. The state election commission made several changes after the primary was delayed, including allowing everyone to vote by mail. The coronavirus already caused Indiana’s primary to be moved from May 5th to June 2nd. But with expectations that social distancing will extend into early summer, the way we now vote is going to change. Our mailbox may be the new ballot box when Indiana votes at the beginning of June. The state’s election commission made major changes last week, one of the biggest is allowing everyone to vote by mail. Elkhart County Clerk Chris Anderson says the prospect of having the county’s around 50,000 registered voters all getting ballots in the mail will be a challenge.