INDIANAPOLIS – The general election is just 90 days away, but Indiana counties have yet to receive state guidance on specifics about how to provide a safe environment for voters this fall.
In the Primary Election, masks were required for poll workers, all Hoosiers were able to vote by mail if they wanted and other provisions were made to keep polls safe.
Secretary of State Connie Lawson was unavailable for an interview, but her press secretary said she will do an update in the future once she has more details to share.
Many county clerks have said they want these answers now so they can have the maximum amount of time to prepare.
Indiana counties are tasked to host one of the biggest elections during a historic pandemic. They are waiting for official guidance from the state.
“Counties need that direction. They’ve got to be compliant with state law, and they are going to look for that guidance on counties using special provisions,” said Democratic Party Chair John Zody.
So far, there isn’t interest in allowing another no-fault absentee ballot election. Governor Eric Holcomb confirmed that during his weekly press conference Wednesday. He wants an efficient and timely election.
“We call it Election Day, not election month,” said Holcomb. “And I hope that we will get that right going into November 3, and we will.”
It’s true, more absentee ballots can delay results. We saw that in the Primary Election. That’s why advocates of no-fault absentee voting say the state needs to invest in resources. That’s how most states are conducting this election. Indiana is one of seven not allowing no-fault absentee voting, so national results will be delayed regardless.
“I think people understand with increased volume with mail-in ballots, you are going to have that,” said Zody. “I think people are willing to accommodate that.”
Reporter Kayla Sullivan asked Holcomb if masks will be required for voters and poll workers in November? And what does the governor say to voters who are at risk for COVID-19?
“There’s a mask requirement,” responded Holcomb. “And Indiana will have a safe and secure and healthy in-person election on November 3.”
Holcomb said he’s waiting on clarity from a federal judge on whether people at high risk for COVID-19 can legally vote absentee in Indiana.
We have also asked if the state is expecting a staffing shortage at voting sites given the fact that many poll workers are older, which puts them at higher risk for COVID-19.
We will continue following up with the Secretary of State’s office to get you answers.