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IN gov signs controversial voting bill into law

Woman's hand holding stickers that says: " I voted ". background with usa flag
Dani - stock.adobe.com
Woman's hand holding stickers that says: " I voted ". background with usa flag

Gov. Eric Holcomb has signed legislation to purge Indiana's voter rolls, with the goal of preventing election fraud.

The Republican-sponsored bill introduces new requirements, including proof of residency for first-time voters.

Ami Gandhi, director of strategic initiatives and Midwest voting rights for the Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and a Monroe County resident, argued it may disenfranchise college students, the homeless, elderly and others who want to cast a ballot.

"I'm the daughter of immigrants and I've heard dehumanizing language in this room about mixed-status families, about our diverse communities," Gandhi explained. "I really want to see better in terms of our efforts to actually include people who are eligible to vote and who do not deserve undue suspicion."

Gandhi pointed out the legislation comes during a time when there is a need for more eligible voters to be more civically engaged. Supporters argued the bill helps identify noncitizens on voter rolls. The new law also requires officials to cross-reference voter-registration systems with data from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and allows them to work with credit data agencies to verify addresses. The new law goes into effect July 1, 2025.

The legislation was authored by Rep. Timothy Wesco, R-Osceola, and comes while ongoing debates on voting rights play out nationwide and states grapple with how to safeguard the integrity of their electoral processes.

"I have friends that are not citizens. They're grateful to be here but they're not citizens, and so they don't vote," Wesco observed. "It's not a threat; there are citizens and there are noncitizens, and we're grateful for both but there is a process."

At least two people who spoke at a public hearing asked lawmakers to consider sending the proposed legislation to a summer committee for a deeper dive into the issue. However, the governor's signature on the bill makes their request moot and House Bill 1264 law.

Joe has more than 35 years experience working in Indiana newsrooms. He started his first job when he was 16 years old in Logansport at the hometown radio station. He loved broadcasting so much he eventually joined the team fulltime.
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