Indiana’s primary election rescheduled due to coronavirus pandemic

Published: Mar. 20, 2020 at 11:36 AM EDT
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Indiana’s primary election has been rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Eric J. Holcomb made the announcement Friday morning alongside Secretary of State Connie Lawson and the chairs of the Indiana Republican and Democratic parties.

Indiana's primary, which had been scheduled for May 5, has been rescheduled to June 2.

This is a breaking story. Stay with us for updates on air and online.

From the Office of Governor Eric J. Holcomb:
Governor Eric Holcomb joined Secretary of State Connie Lawson, Republican Party Chair Kyle Hupfer and Democratic Party Chair John Zody today to announce an agreement to move the date of this year’s Indiana primary election from May 5 to June 2. All dates corresponding with 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 mailed 45 days prior to the primary election, so they’ll move 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,” said Gov. Holcomb. Gov. Holcomb signed an executive order to suspend Indiana’s election statute and move the dates. The executive order is posted here: In addition, Governor 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 will be held in the south atrium of the Indiana Statehouse.

From Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody:
“This is an unprecedented time for our state and nation. Hoosier Democrats believe that holding the election on May 5 and expanding the right to vote through mail-in options was the appropriate decision. However, it has become clear the window for that to happen is quickly closing and we must first be concerned about the health and safety of the public. "Accordingly, Hoosier Democrats have reached an agreement with our Republican counterparts to move the May 5 primary to June 2. Republicans have agreed to join a bipartisan petition to the Election Commission for an unprecedented expansion of vote by mail for the primary election. That includes petitioning the Indiana Election Commission to: move to no-fault absentee voting; develop an email option to submit an application to vote by mail; allow any ballots already in motion for the May primary to be counted in June; expand options for how ballots are transported and who may serve on a traveling board; and keep the absentee window open now through the June election. "Both agreements will require the unanimous approval of the Indiana Election Commission, which is made up of two Democrats and two Republicans. “This is about ensuring the safety of Hoosier voters and election workers. There’s no assurance the pandemic threat will pass by June 2 and the Trump administration is projecting a timetable of 18 months or longer. To that end, we believe a primary election conducted almost completely by mail is the safest option and Hoosier Democrats will continue to work toward that goal. “This agreement will lead to a historic expansion of Hoosiers’ voting rights. We fully expect every Hoosier that wants to vote by mail in the June 2 primary, to be able. It will bring down barriers to the ballot box and throw open the door to freer, fairer elections in the Hoosier state.”