INDIANAPOLIS — The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld an Indiana law permitting a county election board, but no one else, to request an order from a state court extending voting hours when justified by state law.
According to the Indiana Attorney General’s office, such extensions may be necessary in the event of technical problems at polling places, but they cannot be undertaken without a court order, making specific state law findings.
A lawsuit by Common Cause Indiana argued that anyone should be able to request such a court order, but Attorney General Curtis Hill said the legislature limited the law’s reach to avoid inundating courts with demands for extended polling hours.
Indiana law, he added, affords voters ample opportunity to cast their ballots even before Election Day, and the statute at issue does not preclude voters from filing claims under federal law in either state or federal court.
“Fortunately, we are seeing federal appeals courts nationwide recognizing states’ legitimate authority to enact and enforce reasonable election laws,” Hill said. “Taken as a whole, election regulations must exist for elections to be fair, meaningful and legitimate.”
Indiana also recently prevailed in two other federal appellate cases involving its election laws. In those cases, the 7th Circuit upheld state laws 1) prohibiting election officials from counting mail-in ballots received after noon on Election Day, and 2) permitting only some categories of voters, including the elderly, to cast mail-in ballots.