State of Elections

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Tag: Indiana

Indiana’s Noon Absentee Deadline: Election Officials Report Slow Counting, but No Major Problems

By Emma Merrill

Many Indiana voters were alarmed by Indiana’s voting procedures during the state’s June 2, 2020 primary election—Indiana’s first attempt at a statewide election during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I just got completely disenfranchised,” one voter reported after confronting a polling place that lacked the resources to deal with unprecedent mail-in voter turnout. Another Hoosier described Indiana’s election system as “completely overwhelmed.”

Indiana state law mandates that mail-in ballots must be received by noon on Election Day to be counted. Ind. Code § 3-11.5-4-3. In the run-up to Indiana’s primary, Indiana Democrats lobbied the Republican state administration to extend Indiana’s noon deadline for absentee ballots—to no avail. While Republican Governor Eric Holcomb did issue an Executive Order that shifted the primary date from May 3 to June 2, state Republicans refused to change the absentee ballot deadline’s noon requirement. Ultimately, over ten times as many Indiana voters used mail-in absentee ballots compared to the 2016 presidential primary. The surge in absentee voting resulted in processing and delivery delays for approximately 1800 voters’ mail-in ballots in Marion County, home to a significant community of minority voters. The state election system failed to cope with the pandemic, and voters were disenfranchised as a result.

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Indiana’s Voter ID Law in 2020: College Students Might be the Disenfranchised Voting Population Nobody Expected

By: Emma Merrill

Last year, a group of students at Purdue University in Indiana faced uncertainty about whether they could exercise their franchise rights in local elections. The controversy revolved around Indiana’s strict voter identification law. Julie Roush, a Republican elected as Tippecanoe County clerk in 2018, publicly questioned whether Purdue University’s school ID complied with Indiana’s infamous voter identification law. Roush faced swift public backlash on social media, and Purdue placated Roush’s concerns by adding expiration dates to its student IDs to comply with Indiana state law. Still, incoming Purdue sophomores (who were not issued new IDs last year) may be prevented from using their freshman IDs to vote in fall 2020 elections.

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Connecticut and Fair Representation: How Minority Parties Are Guaranteed Representation With “Limited Voting”, And Whether The Practice Burdens The Right To Vote

By Jake Albert

Most elections in our country are winner-take-all.  Parties will spend all of their time and money supporting a certain candidate for office, and the candidate that receives more votes wins 100% of the power.  That is how our country is run at the federal level: we only have one President, no matter how many votes other candidates receive.  But states sometimes employ alternative methods for certain local elections, with Connecticut being one of them.

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Abysmal Voter Turnout and an Electoral Dinosaur: Indiana’s Meaningless Off-Year Municipal Elections

By: Jacob Kipp

All politics is local. That truism (often wrongly attributed to former Rep. Tip O’Neill) has long encouraged politicians to remember the people back home because, ultimately, those people will vote based on the issues that matter to them. But politics is looking a lot less local now. Local concerns have taken a backseat to partisan politics, and local candidates are looking more and more like extensions of their national counterparts. Perhaps these changes can help explain why municipal election voter turnout is plunging across the United States. Indiana, the state with the lowest voter turnout in the country for the 2014 midterm elections, held its most recent off-year municipal elections on November 3.

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Voting at Gunpoint: Should Colorado Allow Firearms at Polling Places?

by Pamela Kalinowski

In July 2011, the Indiana state legislature passed a law that allows citizens to openly carry firearms at all polling places except for schools and courthouses. This law has been praised as a protective measure of a citizen’s right to bear arms and exercise self-defense. For many states, this kind of law would present enough difficult policy questions all on its own, but it raises
particularly charged issues for Colorado, a state that has found itself a consistent subject of both the election and gun debates.

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Two of the most deadly, high-profile shootings in U.S. history have occurred in Colorado–the Columbine and Aurora shootings, the most recent of which occurred this past summer–and have sparked renewed gun control debates. Even more recently, Colorado’s active Secretary of State, Scott Gessler, was involved in a controversialvoter purge” when his office “sent letters to nearly 4,000 people questioning their citizenship as part of a plan to have them voluntarily withdraw or confirm their eligibility to vote” (Huffington Post). Colorado democrats claimed that Secretary Gessler attempted to intimidate or disenfranchise voters, thousands of whom proved to be state citizens. With recent events concerning both gun control and voter intimidation, should Colorado adopt an Indiana-like law and guarantee citizens the right to openly carry firearms at polling places across the state, overriding any local laws that prohibit the practice? Continue reading

Vote Centers are here to stay in Indiana

by Shanna Reulbach

Indiana is one of several states pioneering vote centers, which are consolidated polling places open to any eligible voter in a locality. Vote centers came into existence in 2003, when Larimer County, Colorado first pioneered the configuration. Today, nine states have laws permitting vote centers, but Indiana was the first to use them on a large scale.

In 2006, the Indiana Secretary of State began a pilot program, allowing counties to test vote centers to determine if they would be an effective means of election day administration. Three counties, Cass, Tippecanoe, and Wayne, participated in the program from 2007 to 2010, and their reports prompted the state legislature to pass a bill during its 2011 session to enable all counties to adopt the vote center model as their permanent method for voting. Continue reading

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