Indiana house bill 1116 latest in controversial Indiana bills

Taylor Staples

House Bill 1116, authored by Representative Timothy Wesco, Co-authored by representative Timothy O’Brien and Representative Ethan Manning, and sponsored by Senator Jon Ford, passed out of the Senate elections committee on Monday, despite clear opposition from Democrats.

According to the Indiana General Assembly website, House Bill 1116 deals with electronic voting machines that can change the date by which a county must provide a voter-verifiable paper audit trail for electronic voting systems by July 1st, 2024. Provided that, after July 1st, 2022, a county must meet certain requirements when using any direct record electronic voting system that doesn’t include a voter-verifiable paper audit trail for an election.

The bill essentially increases the hurdles for working and retired Hoosiers to vote by mail. It requires absentee voters to confirm under the penalty of perjury that they wouldn’t be able to vote in-person during the 28-day early voting period, or on election day.

In order to request an absentee mail-in ballot online under the legislation, someone would have to provide either their driver’s license number or the last four digits of their social security number.

In the Indiana House Democratic Caucus, State Representative Sheila Klinker highlighted her opposition to the bill on February 2nd, 2022. She said, “As elected officials and servants of the public, we should be doing everything in our power to increase voter participation and make it easier to access the ballot box. HB 1116 moves our state in the opposite direction. The addition of verifiable paper trails for electronic voting machines is a positive step, however, it’s unfortunate that this important step won’t occur until the 2024 general election. Due to Indiana ranking 41st for voter turnout in the last general election, we need to look to help Hoosiers vote rather than making it more difficult.”

There are no official statements from the Indiana Republican Caucus, but it’s worth noting that the bill is authored, sponsored, and co-authored all by Republicans.

The WCRD news department will provide updates as they arise.

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