Indiana New Law: Want To Vote By Mail, Identification Must Be Verified

Indiana recently passed a new law aimed at aligning the state's voting processes for absentee and in-person ballots. House Bill 1334 mandates that residents requesting absentee ballots include identification verification. To accomplish this, applicants can provide their last four Social Security numbers and another number, such as a driver's license or state-issued identification card number. This change was introduced by the bill's author, state Rep. Tim Wesco of Osceola.

In the past, Indiana voters had to simply sign absentee ballots, and county election officials would compare those signatures to ones on file to see if they matched. Voters may also upload a scan of their ID card or driver's license.

Officials nationwide rejected more than 66,000 mail-in ballots in the 2018 general election due to problems with signature verification, according to the America First Policy Institute. According to the group, many persons frequently have multiple signatures, which might cause confusion.


Wesco stated that the new law "helps protect Indiana's voting integrity" by requiring voters to provide two forms of identification when casting an absentee ballot. "To maintain voter confidence in our electoral process, this is a crucial step."

The bill also modifies Indiana's election laws in another way. The ability to mass mail absentee ballot applications to voters will not be available to local governments or political parties. Individuals will need to request applications directly. The law, however, leaves eligibility for mail-in voting unchanged. 

Any one of the 11 requirements would allow a Hoosier to cast a ballot via mail. Being 65 years of age or older, working the entire election day, having a disability, serving in the military, or working in another public safety post are examples of this.

Almost 1.7 million Hoosiers cast ballots in the general election of last year. Of those, 710,497, or 36%, cast an absentee ballot in some way. 

Indiana allows in-person absentee periods prior to election day in addition to mail-in voting. Early this month, Gov. Eric Holcomb signed HB 1334 into law. It goes into effect on July 1 formally.

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