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INDIANAPOLIS—The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana has stayed its earlier decision to extend Indiana’s absentee voting deadline, again changing the deadline for when absentee ballots must be returned.

So, what does that legalize mean to you?

The latest ruling means Indiana election offices can only accept absentee ballots until noon on Election Day which was the previous rule. This back and forth on the absentee ballot deadline concerns voting advocates.

“Every year, we encourage voters to make a voting plan but this year in particular is very important,” Erin Kelley with the League of Women Voters of Indianapolis said. “The pandemic of course is one issue but then all these changes that seem to keep happening, Hoosiers being told what they can and can’t do.”

Kelley says if voters have questions because of all these changes, there are people in your community who have answers.

“Reach out to your county election board, use services like by the League of Women Voters or just reach out to any kind of non-partisan, civic organization in your community. Don’t be afraid to ask for help,” Kelley said.

“My best advice to voters is if you plan to vote by mail, get that ballot and get it back,” Julia Vaughn, Policy Director for Common Cause Indiana, said.

Common Cause Indiana is the non-partisan organization that filed the lawsuit to extend the absentee ballot deadline. Slow mail delivery through the USPS is one of the main reasons they filed the lawsuit.

“We can’t control the mail. We don’t have any control over that ballot once we let it go in the mail slot,” Vaughn said. “Voters shouldn’t be disenfranchised because of something out of their control.”

In a statement, Attorney General Curtis Hill said the noon Election Day deadline set by the General Assembly is reasonable because it allows most races to be called on Election Day, ensuring there’s public confidence in how we vote.

The postal service recommends giving your ballot a week to arrive by mail. That means you should send yours back before October 27th. You can also drop off absentee ballots in person at your county’s election office.

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