Democrats are objecting to a Republican-backed proposal that would require Indiana voters who request mail-in ballots to swear under possible penalty of perjury that they won’t be able to vote in person at any time during the 28 days before Election Day.
An Indiana House committee endorsed the bill along party lines Tuesday. Republican Rep. Tim Wesco of Osceola defended the proposal he’s sponsoring as an updating of the state’s mail-in ballot law to reflect the greater availability of early in-person voting over the past couple decades.
“I believe the best policy is to encourage people to vote in person, whether on Election Day or in-person early as much as possible,” Wesco said.
Democrats cited hourslong lines at early voting sites in Indianapolis during the 2020 election and argued that the change would discourage people from selecting their most convenient way of casting a ballot under the penalty of perjury.
Democratic Rep. Carey Hamilton of Indianapolis said many parents who are busy with their children and don’t control their work schedules won’t know whether they can get to an early voting location.
Wesco downplayed such concerns, saying “This is an honor system, basically check the box and vote absentee by mail.”
The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.