Legislation to ensure ballots are counted even if the voters who cast them die won’t advance in the House. The bill – which easily cleared the Senate – would require absentee ballots to be counted if the person who cast the ballot dies before Election Day. But Attorney General Curtis Hill contends the measure is unconstitutional. A non-binding opinionissued by his office says a person ceases to be a resident if they die – and the Indiana Constitution requires residency to vote.
Articles about voting issues in Indiana.
A redistricting reform bill is heading to the Senate floor, but it’s not what good-government advocates have been asking for. For years, advocates have called for an independent committee to draw the Indiana’s legislative and congressional maps, instead of the General Assembly. Senate Bill 236, however, would create criteria lawmakers must consider when they redraw the maps every 10 years. Bill author Sen. Greg Walker, R-Columbus, said his bill was just a “baby step” in the right direction. He said that the criteria used to draw maps was far more important than who was drawing the maps.
State legislative redistricting in Indiana took an important step forward Tuesday morning when the Senate Elections Committee, chaired by Republican Sen. Greg Walker, voted unanimously in support of SB326 to create a set of redistricting standards. The bill will now move to the full Senate. The committee met in the Senate chambers with a crowd of more than 200 from all parts of Indiana in the balcony. Redistricting has been a top priority of the League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to supporting democracy, voter rights and voter projection. The LWV has co-sponsored with Common Cause Indiana a coalition for independent redistricting which has been educating and advocating for redistricting reform.
An Indiana Senate panel advanced a bill Monday that would set criteria for redrawing electoral districts. But the measure approved on an 8-0 vote falls far short of a comprehensive redistricting overhaul that good government groups have sought for years. Senate Elections Committee Chairman Greg Walker acknowledged his bill was a “baby step,” though the Columbus Republican said it still moves the conversation forward. Indiana’s legislative and congressional districts are currently drawn to favor Republicans. That’s because the Legislature, which oversees the once-in-a-decade effort that comes after the census, is in GOP control. In the past, when Democrats had more power, the maps tilted in their favor.
County election boards that beef up security around voting equipment and elections will be able to seek reimbursement for their expenses under a bill approved by a state Senate committee Monday. Senate Bill 327 requires counties to make sure their voting systems follow new security procedures and allows county election boards to apply to the Indiana Secretary of State for full or partial compensation of any resources or staff implemented to meet the new standards. However, it does not say where the money is coming from. The bill passed with a unanimous 8-0 vote and was referred to the Appropriations Committee for review of possible funding sources as the result of an approved amendment.
A measure that would allow the votes of certain dead people to count is a major step closer to becoming law in Indiana. The Senate on Tuesday passed the measure 45-2. It now heads to the House. Under the proposal by Senate Elections Committee Chairman Sen. Greg Walker, if someone casts an absentee ballot in Indiana but then dies before Election Day, the dead voter’s ballot would be counted.
Hoosiers soon may no longer need to cite a specific reason for voting by absentee ballot. On Monday, state Sen. Frank Mrvan, D-Hammond, won unanimous approval from the Senate Elections Committee for his proposal allowing any registered voter to cast their ballot by mail prior to Election Day. Current law requires voters identify one of 13 excuses for voting absentee, such as being out of town on Election Day, lacking transportation to the polls or observing a religious holiday.
A local legislator’s bill that would ensure the votes of dead people count in the Indiana General Assembly passed Monday. State Sen. Greg Walker, R-Columbus, introduced Senate Bill 155, which would require that an absentee ballot completed by a voter who subsequently dies before Election Day to be counted as it would be had the voter not died. The bill passed by a 9-0 vote Monday in the Senate Elections Committee, of which Walker is chairman. It now moves to the Senate floor for further consideration. The need for the bill is twofold, Walker said. First, current regulations regarding early ballots of deceased voters are too burdensome. Secondly, it’s important for families to know that the wishes of the deceased family member regarding their vote are honored.
At the top of the Indiana Senate Elections Committee agenda is a measure that would allow the votes of certain dead people to count. Under Sen. Greg Walker’s proposal, if someone casts an absentee ballot in Indiana but then dies before election day, the dead voter’s ballot would be counted. The goal of the bill is not to allow dead people to vote, Walker said. Instead, the measure is intended to save election workers’ time because they will no longer have to check absentee ballots against information about recent deaths, he said.
What if you could have a direct hand in how Indiana’s legislative districts are drawn? One state senator claims he wants to tear the current map up with a redistricting reform bill. State Senator John Ruckelshaus said his plan tries to make the process as transparent as possible and creates and independent commission that will draw the maps. Traditionally, Ruckelshaus said the legislature draws up and votes on the district maps after the Federal Census. “The way this would be different is, the public can apply through their public universities to be a member of this Commission. Then, nine members would be chosen, as well as four members as appointed by the Legislature,” said Ruckelshaus.