The World’s Worst Legislature is coming to the end of this session, and we are beginning to see just how much damage it has inflicted and on whom.
Governor Holcomb has already signed the bill he described as “clear as mud,” depriving trans children of critically-important medical care. (That the measure was harmful and mean-spirited was clear.)
House bills still in the works will further enrich private (overwhelmingly religious) schools at the expense of the public schools that educate some 90% of Indiana children, although the Senate appears to have reconsidered.
And the Republicans who owe their seats to gerrymandering are passing measures to further suppress the vote.
According to the Cost of Voting study conducted by Northern Illinois University in 2020 Indiana’s restrictive voting laws make casting a ballot in the Hoosier state more difficult than most others. Our ranking was 41st in 2020 and if House Bill 1334 passes, it adds hurdles that are sure to get worse.
Sponsored by Rep. Tim Wesco, R-Osceola, the bill puts additional restrictions on voting by mail in Indiana, even though we already have laws in place that strictly limit access to a mail-in ballot.
The legislation’s worst section has been billed as an attempt to bring consistency to our voting laws by putting the same voter ID requirements in place for absentee-by-mail voting as those for in-person voting. In reality, this legislation is yet another attempt by the Republican supermajority to put additional hurdles in place before voters can access their ballot.
House Bill 1334 would require anyone using a paper form to apply to vote absentee by mail to include a copy of their Indiana driver’s license or include their voter identification number, which the form will suggest is the last four digits of the voter’s social security number.
That’s the first new hurdle that voters will have to scale because many of us don’t know what voter ID number is on file for us and it’s not always the last four digits of our social. This is particularly true for voters who have been registered at the same address for many years. That’s because Indiana didn’t start requiring voter registration applicants to provide any ID number until the early 2000s, when the statewide voter file was created and hundreds of thousands of voters were assigned a random voter ID number.
The author of the article goes on to explain that she is one of those “hundreds of thousands.” She’s been registered at the same address for over 20 years, but has no idea what her “randomly assigned number” might be. Under the just-passed bill, in order to complete all the information that will now be required on an application for an absentee ballot, she would need to contact the Marion County Election Board and get that information from them, inserting another step into the process.
Because I’m hyper-familiar with Indiana voting laws, I’ll know to make that call but most voters won’t have a clue. Instead, they will write down a number that may not match what’s on file for them, and their absentee ballot application will be rejected. the legislation even anticipates that this problem is going to happen, because it requires a process be in place to “cure” defective applications.
The “cure” requires county voting officials to call the voter, explain the issue, and offer them the necessary information. But as the article accurately notes,
It’s important to remember that because our state puts limits on who can vote by mail, most Hoosiers who cast a mail-in ballot are elderly or disabled. They are least able to jump over new hurdles like providing a copy of a driver’s license or playing guess my Voter ID number with county officials.
That, of course, is the point.
Our Hoosier “Vote Suppression Is Us”legislature isn’t taking any chances. One of the least-understood consequences of gerrymandering is vote suppression– voters who live in districts that are considered “safe” for the party they don’t support are far less likely to cast a ballot. (If they all did, some of those districts wouldn’t be safe.) But just in case grandpa can’t get to the polls in his wheelchair but has the nerve to want to cast a ballot anyway, this legislation will make it much less likely that he will be able do so.
As usual, legislators piously claim that suppression efforts, like Voter ID, are meant to reduce “voter fraud”–a claim that is demonstrably bull****. All credible evidence–including repeated academic studies–confirms that voter fraud is vanishingly rare.
Members of Indiana’s super-majority are simply intent upon retaining the ability to choose their voters, rather than acquiescing to a basic premise of democracy– the right of voters to choose their representatives.
14 thoughts on “Suppressing Hoosier Votes”
Wow, just wow. Wait until Grandpa, who has voted for the past 40 years finds out he can’t vote by mail! The sh*t is going to hit the fan! The republicans really haven’t thought this through, have they? I hope that the educated young people show up and beat the crap out of the conservatives.
I went on line to voteindy.com on March 15th which I have use in recent years to apply for my mail-in ballot; it brought up my active voter registration and the form to fill out for the application. For identification it required the last 4 digits of my Social Security number or my Drivers License number which I supplied. When I had not received my form by April 7th, I posted on Facebook in the “What’s on your mind” option and a local friend responded to my post with the phone number of the Marion County Election Board Service Center. One of our daily blog commenters, who lives in Sweden, reminded my friend that I could not make phone calls (another thanks to AgingLGirl). My local friend called the Service Center on April 10th with my information and was told they had not received my request for the application. She requested forms for me and herself; we received them on April 12th! I mailed the form on April 13th and am waiting for my application for my mail-in ballot. I had to use Facebook and indirectly, via Sweden, to receive my form to apply for a mail-in ballot to vote in Indiana.
For those on the blog locally, the phone number for the Marion County Election Board Service Center is 317-327-3692, Fax is 317-327-3590, E-mail is email@example.com. Their office is located at 3737 East Washington Street, forms can be dropped off at their office.
Mutilating children for the monies made for the medical-mafia is a good thing.
Democrats are alienating many over the trans-trend. A trend brought to us via the Kardashians.
My first sentence in my previous post seems to be the prevailing view among Democrats.
Actually, I live in Switzerland. 🙂
I’m so glad someone local helped you!
If they can “Gin your anger over these issues, you know someone’s kitchen is missing a ham!” 😉
I wonder how many of these stories will disappear when the new Knight-Ridder-backed newspapers begin following our government coverage. Maybe Indy Star Press will become a crime and sports blotter once again? LOL
Oops; AgingLGirl, still a long way from Indiana to help get a mail-in ballot to vote.
There is just no evidence that Hoosiers have been turned away from the polls since the photo ID requirement was adopted. If you look at voter turnout as measured by percentage of the adult population voting (which is the only correct way to measure it), turnout is actually up since the requirement was adopted.
I agree that most people don’t know their voter ID number. Well, the law has a backup – provide the last four digits of your driver’s license or state issued identification card, which can be obtained for FREE. You have to have a drivers license or state issued ID to walk into any federal building in town. You have to have one to get on an airplane. You have to have one to sell property in the State of Indiana. The percentage of population who doesn’t have a driver’s license or state issued ID and who is being turned away from the polls is infinitesimal.
I keep asking my liberal friends what do they want to use for ID at the polls? Cue the sound of crickets. They never want to answer that question…they just want to criticize the idea of photo ID. If they want to go back to just signing one’s name to vote, I work with people’s signatures at the title agency I manage. Signatures change all the time, and evolve over time. (Young people often don’t know how to sign their names because they never learned cursive.) Do you want poll workers sitting around and judging whether signatures match? They have absolutely no training to do that. My signature on file at the voter registration office is a signature from 40 plus years ago. My signature looks nothing like that today.
Liberals need to be offering constructive alternatives instead of simply saying photo ID is bad. They should be offering alternatives like expanding the types of photo ID allowed or asking for an affidavit backup if someone forgets their ID to vote. But the notion people should be able to vote without any ID whatsoever is, well, pretty absurd.
As far as voting absentee by mail, being required to write down the last four digits of one’s driver’s license or photo ID number, is not an onerous requirement and one that should have been adopted years ago.
Making voting more difficult is addressing a non existent problem that Republican entertainment created in the wake of Trumpsurrection . Trump threw the GOP a curve which they reacted to according to the top secret Fox/Republican play book, which advises to sweep up after Trump and make whatever he might say, political wisdom to his demented base.
After Putin stole the 2016 election for Trump either gratis or for future favors, Trump hoped to employ his own tactics publicly applied to his opposition to also steal 2020. In order to legitimize those crimes, Republicans made lemonade from that lemon by going along with the lie by proclaiming the opposition cheats in elections so steps must be taken in order to have free and fair elections by making it harder for the working poor to vote.
I think a far more serious problem than these obstacles to voting is the unwillingness of people to vote. The obstacles just make that problem a little worse by giving people another excuse to avoid their civic duty. In this case I tend to agree with Paul that the number of voters being turned away from the poles is small, certainly far, far smaller than the number who don’t care to show up at all. I think that problem is where our efforts should be concentrated.
Sharon Miller – KUDOS. Root cause #1: they don’t believe it will make a difference because big money rules.
Lester, big money will rule until we collectively say no.
When the voters understand that their vote is meaningless because there is only one candidate for the position on the ballot, of course they will not make an effort to vote. Gerrymander in this state means that there are many state and local seats that have only one candidate on the ballot, no matter if the district is packed or cracked.
From Ballotpedia: Indiana 2022 elections:
State Uncontested State Legislature Local
Indiana 38.5% – – 41.6% – 41.0%
Those positions have been manipulated to insure that a minority of the electorate will always control the outcomes.
Voters have no incentive to vote when there is no choice in candidates. Voter suppression tactics do not have to be overt. They are implicit when candidates realize that running in a gerrymandered district race of either party will take huge investments of money and time, all likely to be a fool’s errand.
The democrats need to be on every campus in Indiana not just to register the students, but to recruit new candidates.
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