Proposed Indiana voting law change faces corporate criticism from Eli Lilly and Co.

One of Indiana’s most prominent corporations is criticizing an Indiana proposal that opponents maintain will make mail-in voting more difficult by requiring voters to submit identification numbers with their ballot applications.

Posted: Apr 6, 2021 2:17 PM
Updated: Apr 6, 2021 2:29 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — One of Indiana’s most prominent corporations is criticizing an Indiana proposal that opponents maintain will make mail-in voting more difficult by requiring voters to submit identification numbers with their ballot applications.

The bill’s Republican sponsors say it is aimed at preventing voter fraud by having similar voter ID requirements for mail voting as the state has for in-person voting at polling sites.

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Stephen Fry, Eli Lilly and Co.’s senior vice president for human resources and diversity, told a legislative committee Tuesday that the company believed the bill wasn’t needed and that state officials acted correctly to allow no-excuse mail-in voting for the spring 2020 primary because of COVID-19 concerns.

The Indiana bill is among a wave of GOP-backed election proposals that were introduced in states around the country after former President Donald Trump stoked false claims that fraud led to his 2020 election defeat.

“It serves only to confer acceptance of the widespread falsehood that there is something to be questioned about the outcome of last year’s election,” Fry said. “This effort and others like it, albeit using different language, only serve to perpetuate the narrative that the 2020 election outcome was flawed or compromised in some way.”

The proposal would require a voter to submit their 10-digit Indiana driver’s license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number on their mail-in ballot application.

Bill opponents counter that will lead to many applications being rejected because voters won’t know which number is on file with their county election office and some older voter registration records include no such numbers.

The bill would also prohibit the state election commission from changing an election date or expanding mail-in voting options as it did by delaying the 2020 primary by a month with the support of Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb and Indiana GOP and Democratic state party leaders.

The public stance of Indianapolis-based Lilly, a pharmaceutical company with some 12,000 employees in the state, against the proposal comes as major corporations have faced pressure to denounce Republican efforts to tighten voting laws in Georgia, Texas and other states.

Fry spoke after Republican Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita testified in support of the bill, calling it commonsense changes that ensure the verification of voter identities and the authority of the Legislature over when elections are conducted.

“For many Americans, as a result, the 2020 election has shaken their confidence, including thousands of Hoosiers,” Rokita said. “It has created profound unease, if not outright distrust, about the results.”

Republicans pushed the bill through the state Senate in February. The House elections committee could vote Thursday on whether to advance it to the full House.

Some Democratic elections officials said they worried about local election workers having enough time for the additional responsibility of checking ID numbers on mail-in ballot applications and notifying voters about problems ahead of voting deadlines.

Legislative Republicans have blocked efforts by Democrats to ease voting laws, such as the state’s mail-in voting limits that now allow people to vote by mail only if they fall into one of several categories, including being 65 or older or being absent from their home counties on Election Day.

Barbara Tully, the president of the group Indiana Vote By Mail, called Rokita’s comments “propaganda” and said she didn’t believe the Legislature was doing anything to improve the state’s 42nd ranking in voter turnout.

“This General Assembly is intent on grinding Indiana voters into a state of apathy about our elections so that fewer voters actually participate,” Tully said.

Bill sponsor Sen. Erin Houchin of Salem said Indiana’s lack of an identification requirement for mail-in ballots was a hole in its election security.

“It’s our responsibility and duty to make sure, through these types of processes, that each person only has one vote,” Houchin said. “That’s what we’re trying to do, we’re just trying to bring it to one person, one vote, no matter how you vote.”

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 704632

Reported Deaths: 13211
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion961411718
Lake51322943
Allen39040670
Hamilton34368405
St. Joseph33865539
Elkhart27197431
Vanderburgh22050394
Tippecanoe21725212
Johnson17475374
Porter17240298
Hendricks16754310
Clark12663190
Madison12321337
Vigo12172244
Monroe11417166
LaPorte10841204
Delaware10325184
Howard9629211
Kosciusko9098113
Hancock7954139
Bartholomew7867155
Warrick7680155
Floyd7543176
Wayne6887198
Grant6773171
Boone6524100
Morgan6379138
Dubois6074117
Marshall5770108
Dearborn568576
Cass5678102
Henry5569100
Noble539383
Jackson492869
Shelby478295
Lawrence4336118
Gibson427789
Harrison427570
Clinton417753
Montgomery417286
DeKalb407984
Huntington377480
Whitley376339
Miami371765
Knox365789
Steuben363357
Putnam352360
Jasper347546
Wabash347377
Adams337852
Ripley333468
Jefferson312180
White307854
Daviess289399
Wells285581
Decatur278592
Fayette277162
Greene270485
Posey268433
Scott260853
Clay253044
LaGrange252170
Randolph234680
Washington230631
Spencer227531
Jennings224747
Fountain208245
Sullivan207542
Starke202652
Owen191956
Fulton190939
Jay185829
Carroll185620
Perry179736
Orange176753
Rush170624
Vermillion165943
Franklin165635
Tipton160943
Parke144316
Blackford133331
Pike130234
Pulaski113245
Newton103034
Brown99740
Crawford97514
Benton96413
Martin82515
Warren79315
Switzerland7698
Union69710
Ohio55711
Unassigned0408

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1050112

Reported Deaths: 18991
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1219281356
Cuyahoga1067232069
Hamilton780741168
Montgomery49976996
Summit45252909
Lucas39984765
Butler37678570
Stark31385895
Lorain24111473
Warren23864293
Mahoning20869583
Lake19963362
Clermont19423229
Delaware18002130
Licking16109207
Fairfield15676197
Trumbull15553460
Medina14839259
Greene14643236
Clark13602293
Wood12733185
Portage12353196
Allen11312229
Richland11025198
Miami10525214
Muskingum8702127
Wayne8556209
Columbiana8535226
Pickaway8429121
Tuscarawas8370240
Marion8365135
Erie7554154
Hancock6694123
Ross6693146
Geauga6532146
Ashtabula6470165
Scioto6286101
Belmont5610158
Union557447
Lawrence5465102
Jefferson5303147
Huron5298114
Darke5268121
Sandusky5171120
Seneca5108120
Washington5073107
Athens500656
Auglaize475184
Mercer471184
Shelby455890
Knox4380108
Madison421559
Putnam420799
Ashland412688
Fulton409167
Defiance400896
Crawford3866101
Brown386055
Logan372876
Preble369898
Clinton360560
Ottawa356578
Highland346359
Williams324974
Champaign319257
Jackson307951
Guernsey306149
Perry289649
Fayette277348
Morrow274639
Hardin264164
Henry263566
Coshocton258857
Holmes253099
Van Wert238862
Gallia233346
Pike232931
Adams227852
Wyandot226953
Hocking208959
Carroll189147
Paulding168638
Meigs141538
Noble132837
Monroe128841
Morgan106623
Harrison105236
Vinton81414
Unassigned02
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