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Bill adding new voter ID requirements to mail-in ballot applications poised to become law

An absentee mail-in ballot for the 2020 general election. Directions help voters make sure all parts of the ballot are filled out properly to make sure the vote is counted.
FILE PHOTO: Justin Hicks
IPB News
People applying for an absentee, mail-in ballot will now have to provide some form of voter identification under legislation poised to become law.

People applying to vote by mail in Indiana will face new identification requirements under legislation poised to become law.

Sen. Eric Koch (R-Bedford) said the bill he sponsored, HB 1334, aligns mail-in absentee ballot applications with the other methods of voting.

“It requires that these applications for absentee ballots by mail be accompanied by either a photocopy of a government-issued photo ID – as we do when we vote in person – or one of four numbers,” Koch said.

Those numbers are a driver’s license number, a non-driver state ID card number, a voter registration record number (which most people don’t know) or the last four digits of a person’s Social Security number.

READ MORE: Republicans reject effort to expand vote-by-mail to all Hoosiers

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Rep. Tanya Pfaff (D-Terre Haute) said the bill seeks to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. She said it will only make it harder to vote for people including older Hoosiers, those with disabilities and military service members.

“It won’t make elections safer and only serves to hamper democracy,” Pfaff said.

Republicans voted to send the measure to the governor’s desk. Every Democrat in the House and Senate – and a few Senate Republicans – voted against the bill.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.