What are Hoosier lawmakers doing to increase voter turnout?

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– Indiana law currently requires Hoosiers to register to vote at least 29 days before an election.

State representative, Tonya Pfaff, authored House Bill 1361, which would potentially allow voters to register the day before election day.

She said she believes the current requirement is outdated.

“For me that’s just way too long. People don’t start paying attention to elections until about a week before,” Pfaff said. “So get it down to a week before. That’s fine. But 29 days to me is just built on a very antiquated system.”

Carly Schmitt has worked for several years to get people registered to vote in Vigo county.

She said voter registration has the greatest impact on voter turnout.

“Whenever we have more restrictive voter registration policies. We’re going to have lower voter turnout. So by making it less restrictive. We’ll have a higher turnout,” Schmitt explained.

“We have to meet people where they are and be responsive to the needs of all Hoosiers,” Schmitt continued. “Part of that is opening up our voter registration process and allowing people to change their voter registration or re-register up until election day. Our neighbors over to the west in Illinois have this and there have been no problems.”

Pfaff said she hopes having less restrictive voter registration laws will allow for more representation on the state and federal level.

“I think it’s so important to see who is representing you to see who is making these laws. The more people that have input into their representation, the better off I think we would all be,” she concluded.   

The bill is currently waiting to be heard by the Election and Appointments Committee. State legislators are also working on a no-excuse vote by mail bill, also known as Senate Bill 117. It would allow registered voters to vote by mail without providing a specific reason.

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