Uncategorized Voter rights bills awaiting committee hearings

Voter rights bills awaiting committee hearings

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Members of the Indiana Senate Democratic Caucus have filed a legislative package for the 2012 General Assembly that protects voter rights and encourages more Hoosiers to vote. Indiana ranked 48th in voter turnout in 2010. With a turnout rate of 39.4%, Indiana’s turnout was six percentage points lower than the national average of 45.5%.

Simple options such as more satellite locations for early voting would give Hoosiers an opportunity to vote at a place and time that is convenient for them. It can be difficult for citizens juggling jobs and family demands to make it to their polling location within the short time frame provided on Election Day. Hoosiers deserve every opportunity to participate in the election process, and our state should be taking the steps necessary to make that possible.

In addition, requiring that all municipal candidates’ names appear on general election ballots regardless of challenge will reduce confusion amongst voters.

To voice your support for these bills: Contact your State Senator and the members of the senate standing committee to which the bill has been assigned (see committee assignments at the end of each bill description). Contact information for every State Senator is available on the General Assembly’s website.

2012 Voting Rights Bills:

Senate Bill 206: Early voting at satellite locations
Designed to improve voter turnout and increase accessibility to the polls, Senate Bill 206 would expand early voting opportunities at satellite locations. Indiana law now requires that satellite clerk offices may only be used for early voting if approved by a unanimous vote of the county election board. In counties where there are satellite county clerk offices already providing services to citizens, partisanship on the Election Board should not block voters’ access to early voting.
In 2009, legislation was approved with bipartisan support in the General Assembly to remove this unanimous election board decision requirement for early voting at satellite locations and replace it with a majority vote requirement. That bill, however, was vetoed by Gov. Daniels. Senate Bill 206 is offered by Sen. Jean Breaux (D-Indianapolis).

Senate Committee: Elections

Senate Bill 117: All municipal officials on the ballot, regardless of challenge
In 2011, a new state law allowed a municipal office and a candidate’s name to be omitted from the general election ballot if that candidate was unchallenged. The change was confusing and did not allow voters the opportunity to signal their approval or withhold their vote from the single candidate. Senate Bill 117 would create  a measure to repeal that language in 2012 so that all valid municipal candidates are represented on ballots. This legislation is offered by Sen. Jim Arnold (D-LaPorte).

Senate Committee: Elections