By Alexa Shrake

INDIANAPOLIS—In the Indiana House session Tuesday, a bill that would require either a driver’s license number or the last four digits of a Social Security number when applying online to vote absentee passed 71-21. 

Absentee voting bill will return to Senate after passing in the House

Rep. Timothy Wesco, R-Osceola, speaks on Senate Bill 353. The bill that would require more documents when applying for an absentee ballot passed the House Tuesday. Photo by Alexa Shrake, The Statehouse File.

Senate Bill 353 was amended in committee, which took out the language that restricted a governor from changing the time, date and manner of an election or expanding absentee voting. In 2020, Gov. Eric Holcomb delayed the primary election from May until June and loosened restrictions on absentee voting as Indiana coped with the outbreak of COVID-19. 

The bill is developing at the same time as fallout from a similar bill in Georgia and as Kentucky’s governor signs a bill that will expand voting.

Georgia’s election bill has caused major businesses like Major League Baseball to pull the All-Star Game from Atlanta. While the bills have significant differences both require additional documentation when applying for an absentee ballot. 

Nationwide, 43 states are looking to pass similar election bills which some criticize as voter suppression. 

The House sponsor of Indiana’s bill, Rep. Timothy Wesco, R-Osceola, urged others’ support. 

“Senate Bill 353 seeks to ensure that a person requesting an absentee ballot application online is the person they claim to be,” Wesco said. 

The bill will return to the Senate for review. 

Alexa Shrake is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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