Former lieutenant governors are calling on Holcomb to let anyone who wants vote absentee

Two former lieutenant governors are calling on Governor Holcomb to let anyone who wants vote absentee.

The Indiana Election Commission allowed universal absentee voting for the June primary at Holcomb’s request. But Holcomb this week declared he doesn’t see a reason to do so in November. He says unlike the runup to the primary, Indiana is not under lockdown, and says voters have opportunities to vote early if they want to avoid lines on Election Day.

Republican John Mutz and Democrat Kathy Davis say people shouldn’t have to risk catching the coronavirus when they could mail their votes. Mutz, who was lieutenant governor under Governor Robert Orr, charges opponents are fearful of angering President Trump, who’s repeatedly claimed mail-in voting would lead to fraud.

Mutz and Davis, who served under Governor Joe Kernan, note the president is drawing a nonexistent distinction between voting by mail and absentee voting. And Davis says there’s no evidence for the claim that mail-in voting will open the door to fraud.

Senior citizens and others with specific exemptions can already vote absentee in Indiana. In 2016, they made up a third of the state’s vote. Half the voters in this year’s June primary opted to vote by mail.

Indiana is one of just seven states which has not authorized universal mail-in voting for November. 34 states already had no-excuse absentee voting or conduct elections exclusively by mail. Nine more have lifted restrictions due to the pandemic.