Indiana lawmakers turn down changes to mail-in voting rules

An Indiana legislative committee has turned aside a proposal that aimed to tighten the state law on the increasingly popular practice of voting by mail.

The state Senate’s elections committee voted unanimously Monday to strip the provisions from a bill that was approved last month along party lines by the Republican-dominated House.

The proposal would have required voters who requested mail-in ballots to swear under possible penalty of perjury that they wouldn’t be able to vote in person at any time during the 28 days before Election Day.

Supporters had maintained it was aimed at encouraging people to cast ballots in person during Indiana’s early voting period but voting rights activists argued it would discourage people from selecting their most convenient way of voting.

Republican Sen. Greg Walker of Columbus said he believed the proposed restrictions would cause confusion among people who would want to vote by mail without improving election integrity.

The Senate committee endorsed remaining portions of the bill, including a plan supporters say will improve Indiana’s election security by adding small printers to thousands of electronic touch-screen voting machines before the 2024 election. Some voting rights groups criticize that plan as relying on ineffective and outdated technology.

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