Pfaff amends bill to secure absentee ballots

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INDIANAPOLIS – A controversial voter suppression bill was successfully amended by State Rep. Tonya Pfaff (D-Terre Haute) in the Indiana House Elections Committee today, replacing attacks on the authority of the Indiana Election Commission with guidelines on the application for and use of absentee ballots.

Senate Bill 353 in its original form would have barred the Indiana Election Commission or the governor from expanding mail-in voting or altering the date of an election. Pfaff's amendment codifies the process for applying for an absentee ballot, dictates what information can be provided on them and sets guidelines for the process of a voter with disabilities to assign a second person to sign in their place.

“This is simply codifying what we already do,” Pfaff said. “Absentee ballots are a vital part of our elections. They protect the rights of voters who otherwise might face obstacles between them and the polls. This amendment makes sure that these ballots are easy to access and secure.

“I am grateful we were able to work together to remove the damaging language passed down by the Senate. We all agree – we want fair and secure elections. But this bill, as it stood, was a solution in search of a problem that would have created new problems of its own.”

A second amendment approved by the committee stripped the original language from the bill, leaving Pfaff's amendment as the remaining primary content.

“We've fixed this legislation into a strong bill that protects the security of our absentee ballots, ensuring that Hoosiers who cannot make it to the polls in person can rely on consistent and clear guidelines to cast their vote.

“All our other rights are protected by the ballot. We will continue to work to secure the votes of Hoosiers and remain vigilant against attempts to undermine their voices.”

The amended bill now advances to the House floor for further discussion.

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