Latest election report is damning, but comes with a silver-lining

Latest election report is damning, but comes with a silver-lining

Indiana’s Secretary of State has no more solemn responsibility that ensuring that every eligible Hoosier is able to cast a ballot. As I have traveled across the state in pursuit of that office, I have heard from countless Hoosiers who are frustrated that our election system is fundamentally unfair. A recent report from the non-partisan U.S. Commission on Civil Rights confirms what I have been hearing – Indiana’s election system is broken, and it’s time to fix it.

The Commission’s report lays out a slew of areas where Indiana’s elections fall short. A combination of the shortest voting hours in the country, restrictive absentee voting policies, and an unreliable system for purging voters from the rolls – among other policies – has created a witch’s brew: Indiana has one of the lowest turnout rates in the country. When you throw in extreme partisan gerrymandering, we are left with a system that is essentially rigged to favor one party.

The Commission’s report also touched on another area where Indiana falls tragically short: election security. Indiana is one of a handful of states that does not require voting machines to have a voter-verified paper trail, and in a majority of our counties, there is none. We know that our voting machines are under attack from abroad, but state government has not taken the two steps that experts agree most important to preventing an attack: paper trails and mandatory audits. It is no surprise, as the Commission points out, that Indiana recently received an “F” on election security.

The Commission’s report is damning, but it comes with a silver-lining: a non-partisan roadmap for strengthening our election system. I’m seeking to serve as Secretary of State because I believe that we must – and can – do better.

Republicans and Democrats alike can agree that longer polling hours, expanded absentee options, and fair districts will make our election system fairer. Common ground is also attainable on election security. It’s time that we set party labels aside and come together to address the Commission’s concerns. If we can agree on nothing else, we must agree on free and fair elections.

-Jim Harper

Leave a response