INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge has denied a bid to require the Indiana Election Commission make voting by mail available to all registered voters this November.
The lawsuit is among several challenging Indiana’s election protocols during the pandemic. Indiana requires voters to have an accepted and specific reason to use an absentee ballot.
Friday's decision comes as organizations and lawmakers nationwide are trying to expand voting by mail to limit Election Day crowds and curb the virus' spread.
U.S. District Court Judge J.P. Hanlon said in a 19-page ruling that there’s no constitutional right to vote by mail, saying mail-in absentee voting is available as a convenience, according to The (Northwest Indiana) Times.
“Plaintiffs have not alleged or shown that the state — through either defendants’ actions or Indiana’s laws — has absolutely prevented them from voting,” Hanlon said.
The judge added that while coronavirus “undisputedly presents new and serious challenges, Plaintiffs have not explained why those challenges trigger constitutional protections when the challenges of working mothers, medical personnel, and those working two jobs do not.”
A message left Sunday for Indiana Vote by Mail, a nonprofit that helped bring the lawsuit, wasn't immediately returned.
The Indiana Election Commission deadlocked earlier this month on whether to let all residents vote by mail.