A measure sponsored by state Rep. Clyde Kersey aimed at improving voter turnout cleared the Indiana House on Wednesday and now awaits the signature of Gov. Eric Holcomb. House members concurred with Senate changes to House Bill 1178. The measure is the only piece of election reform that appears likely to pass this session, according to Kersey, D-Terre Haute. House Bill 1178 requires Bureau of Motor Vehicles employees to ask each person conducting business at the local license branch if they would like to register to vote. If the answer is yes, the employee must provide the proper forms to register, then provide additional information on how to file the paperwork with the county voter registration office.
“Does this legislation cure what ails Indiana’s broken election system? Not even close,” Kersey said in a news release. “But, considering the usual intransigence that comes from the majority party when it comes to election reform, I am pleased whenever we can take any steps to get more people to vote. I just wish we weren’t taking baby steps.”
In its original form, Kersey’s bill would have enabled a person to automatically register to vote when they obtained or renewed their driver’s license at the BMV.
However, that measure was changed by Republicans — who control the House Elections and Apportionment Committee — and then scaled back further in the Senate, also under Republican control.