Crusader Staff Report
Governor Eric Holcomb recently issued an executive order to move the date of this year’s Indiana primary election from May 5 to June 2 because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Holcomb said the move came after he met with Secretary of State Connie Lawson, Republican Party Chair Kyle Hupfer and Democratic Party Chair John Zody.
Holcomb said the primary election will be moved by 28 days to reflect the new date of the primary. For example, military and overseas ballots are required to be mailed 45 days prior to the primary election, so they’ll be mailed 45 days prior to June 2.
“The right of citizens to elect their leaders in a free and open election is one of the cornerstones of America. In order to balance that right with the safety of county employees, poll workers and voters, delaying Indiana’s primary election is the right move as we continue to do all we can to protect Hoosiers’ health,” Holcomb said in a statement.
This month, Louisiana, Georgia, Kentucky and Ohio postponed their March 17 primaries because of the coronavirus.
Ohio’s Primary was moved to the same date as Indiana’s rescheduled Primary on June 2. Georgia’s reschedued Primary will be on May 19. Louisiana’s primary will be June 20. Kentucky’s will be June 23.
Over 15,436 people worldwide have died from the virus. Some 350,000 people worldwide have been infected. In Indiana, seven people have died and 259 have been infected with the virus.
There are no coronavirus cases reported in Gary.
In addition, Holcomb, Secretary Lawson, Chairman Hupfer and Chairman Zody made the following recommendations to the Indiana Election Commission.
Suspend absentee by-mail rules to allow all Hoosiers the option to vote by mail in the upcoming primary election.
Allow county clerks to continually mail ballots from now through 12 days out from the new primary election date.
Confirm ballots with a May 5, 2020 date will be valid.
Enable medical professionals to be eligible members of traveling boards to vote nursing home and hospital patients.
Give family members the ability to deliver absentee ballots. Currently only a member of a voter’s household may take possession of their ballot.
“As Indiana’s Chief Election Officer, it is my top priority to protect our elections, but, above all else, it is my duty to protect the health and safety of Hoosiers,” said Secretary Lawson. “I believe the bi-partisan recommendations we have asked the Indiana Election Commission to take will allow us to provide all Hoosiers the opportunity to vote.
Indiana Election Commission Chairman Paul Okeson has called a meeting of the Indiana Election Commission on Wednesday, March 25 at 10 a.m. to discuss the recommendations. The meeting was held in the south atrium of the Indiana Statehouse.