Effort to track absentee ballots rejected by Senate

By Andrew Longstreth
TheStateHouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS—A Senate committee Thursday rejected an amendment that would have required tracking numbers on all absentee ballots as not a viable option for Indiana right now.

House Bill 1311, authored by Rep. Thomas Saunders, R-Lewisville, would change the deadline for applying for absentee ballots from eight days before an election to 12 days.

Sen. J.D. Ford, D-Indianapolis, introduced an amendment that would place tracking devices on the outside of absentee ballots. This would allow voters the ability to track their ballots through the Postal Service as it makes the way to polling stations where their votes would be counted.

However, legislators said that tracking ballots is not a viable option for Indiana as of right now.

Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, says that absentee ballot tracking helps to defend people’s right to vote.
Photo by Andrew Longstreth TheStateHouseFile.com

Sen. Michael Young, R-Indianapolis, said he believe the task would be too daunting for the Postal Service and it would impose a financial burden on the state.

“They’re not going to start tracking these packages, these envelops for free,” said Young. “I think that’s going to be a pretty hefty cost at this point and we don’t have a way to pay for it.”

Others lawmakers, such as Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, who said that the cost and tracking of ballots is necessary to preserve and protect a person’s right to vote.

“I’ve always considered the right to vote and the right to cast your vote to be one of the most fundamental things that we have in this country,” said Taylor. “So, we should try to protect it as much as possible.”

The amendment was defeated 7-39 and HB 1311 and now goes to the Senate for action. The bill passed the House in February by a 63-28 vote.

Andrew Longstreth is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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