Contact: AJ Freeney-Ruiz
Contact: Jen Fanger
Indianapolis, IN - As absentee ballots are arriving in mailboxes across the state, Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita is reminding Hoosier voters of absentee ballot and photo ID rights and responsibilities under recent election reforms.
Rokita's announcement comes at the conclusion of a statewide voter education initiative with stops in East Chicago, South Bend, Paoli, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Anderson, Jeffersonville, and Madison.
"We're taking significant steps to ensure every legitimate Hoosier vote counts and is not discounted by someone seeking to threaten the integrity of our elections," Rokita said. "The absentee voting process has some new built-in safeguards that work hand-in-hand with Photo ID, and I want to be sure voters understand these new protections."
On September 28th, county election boards were able to begin mailing absentee ballots to voters who had already filed an application to vote absentee. Under Indiana law, voters must meet certain criteria - such as being confined to their residence due to illness -- to qualify to vote absentee by mail.
Recent legislation now requires an Absentee Voter's Bill of Rights be sent with each absentee ballot. Applicants are now required to affirm under penalties of perjury that the information set forth in the application is true, including the applicant's reason for requesting an absentee ballot. Anyone assisting a voter in completing the absentee ballot application or absentee ballot is now required to sign an affidavit indicating the assistance.
Additionally, the new law establishes penalties for electioneering or campaigning in the presence of a voter with an absentee ballot, and it prohibits party officials or others from completing absentee ballot information for voters.
"These are positive changes that guarantee all voters the right to privately, and independently cast their ballots," Rokita said.
Voters with questions regarding absentee voting or Photo ID may contact their county election official, or call Rokita's Voter Helpline at 1-866-IN-1-VOTE (1-866-461-8683). October 10, 2006 marks the deadline to register to vote for the November 7th General Election.