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Statehouse Bill could make changes to how Hoosiers fill out absentee ballot applications

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WPTA21)- A Senate bill would make some changes to Indiana's absentee ballot process.

Senate Bill 353 would prohibit the governor and the Indiana Election Commission from instituting, increasing or expanding vote by mail or absentee voting by mail.

A supporter of the bill, Senator Jeff Raatz of Richmond, says he wants to ensure that Indiana elections run smoothly.

"We have to be very careful to make sure who is voting is who they say they are and we have to be able to be secure ultimately," Raatz said.

The bill would also require voter filling out an absentee ballot application to include their driver's license number or the last four digits of their social security number.

"Unfortunately security comes with a price and the price at least as we know it today is identification and there's opportunity for folks whether maybe they don't have a driver's license maybe they lost their social security card some people don't know their social security number memorized , a free ID is no problem. It's incumbent upon us to give every opportunity to folks," Raatz said.

But Allen County Democratic Party Chair, Derek Camp says he feels that opportunity is being taken away.

"We are a democratic state, we are a democratic nation and proposing bills like this is very un-American," Camp said.

He says these requirements could negatively impact underprivileged communities.

"This bill does not mandate that the county clerks notify a voter if they use the wrong number and they're application gets denied so theres no mandate and it's just going to make it harder for individuals to vote particularly seniors who regularly use the absentee registration process," Camp said.

The Indiana Democrats have compared this legislation to some of the new voting laws in Georgia. They say it they feel its aim is to suppress ballot access for Hoosiers wishing to vote absentee.

"They are struggling to win on their ideas and when they don't like that where they can, they're putting in additional barriers to confuse and intimidate voters," Camp said.

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Arielle Cadet

Arielle Cadet joined WPTA in August 2019. The Atlanta, Georgia native graduated from the University of Missouri and serves as Weekend Anchor/MMJ for ABC21. Feel free to connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or shoot her an email at acadet@WPTA21.com.

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