Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita Praises Election Reforms Passed by General Assembly
Contact: Jim Gavin
State's voters gain online registration option he promoted, but limited progress is made toward expanding vote centers statewide
(Indianapolis) – Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita today applauded state lawmakers for passing new laws that will continue the modernization of Indiana's election process and further cement the state as a national leader in conducting elections. On the final day of its 2009 regular session, the Indiana General Assembly unanimously passed House Enrolled Act 1346, which will allow most voters to register online. Current voter registration requires a paper form to be mailed to or dropped off at a county election office and manual entry of voter information by local election workers.
Secretary Rokita, who serves as Indiana's Chief Election Official, had urged lawmakers to allow Indiana residents with driver's licenses or state-issued ID cards to register or update their voter information online through his office.
"I'm pleased our representatives in the General Assembly recognize that we can use online tools to streamline the registration process and make voting more convenient and attractive, like so many of my office's other services and how most Hoosiers conduct other types of business," said Secretary Rokita. "Because of the technology we have, coupled with our state's Photo ID law, we can offer online registration and maintain, even enhance, the integrity of our elections."
Lawmakers also authorized an expansion of Vote Centers, a modern election reform introduced to the state by Secretary Rokita. Senate Enrolled Act 209 allows Johnson County the option of adopting Vote Centers. Vote Centers are expected to save Johnson County, which lost all of its voting machines in last spring's disastrous flood, millions in replacement costs since they require fewer machines to operate.
According to a study conducted by Ball State University's Bowen Center for Public Affairs, Tippecanoe County, one of the Vote Centers pilot counties, used 72 fewer polling places and saved 30 percent on the overall cost of the administering the 2008 general election, including saving more than $53,000 on poll worker costs. Another pilot county, Cass County, is estimated to have saved more than 51 percent of its total cost of administering the same election.
"While the General Assembly took another step forward in the evolution toward a more modern elections system, we are still only going to have Vote Centers in four counties. We have 88 counties to go," said Secretary Rokita.
Additional election reforms supported by Secretary Rokita that passed this session include:
- Enhanced ability of military voters to cast absentee ballots by permitting ballot applications to be sent by e-mail – which is far more universally accessible to military voters than fax machines
- Protection of funding for the Voting Systems Technical Oversight Program
- Allowing first responders to return to the polling place to vote if called out for an emergency after signing in but prior to actually voting
Media Contact: Jim Gavin: 317.233.8655 or firstname.lastname@example.org.