Rokita Applauds Senate Passage of Election Integrity Bill

Contact: Cam Savage

(Indianapolis) - Today Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita applauded the passage of Senate Bill 422 authored by Senator Jerold A. Bonnet. Senate Bill 422 passed the Indiana Senate Wednesday with bipartisan support by a vote of 37-12.

Senate Bill 422 addresses absentee ballot fraud, makes certain federal election crimes applicable to Indiana elections, and addresses public confidence in the integrity of voting systems and the vendors who sell them to counties.

"The municipal elections of 2003 brought to light the desperate need for the General Assembly to take immediate action to combat voter fraud in Indiana," Rokita said. "This is a great first step to cleaning up the absentee ballot problems in our state. It is significant that members of both parties came together to support this election security and reform legislation."

Since May of 2003, Rokita has been a vocal advocate for and strong supporter of a criminal investigation into alleged voter fraud occurring in East Chicago and Schererville during the May 2003 primary election. Rokita recently completed his work with the Lake County Election Board Subcommittee for Election Integrity that investigated absentee ballot fraud and procedures for processing absentee ballots.

"Many of the reforms contained in this legislation are a direct result of the work of the Election Integrity Subcommittee in Lake County and a result of close consultation with Indiana's county clerks, election administrators and members of the General Assembly," Rokita said. "After recounts, contested elections and the scrutiny of trial and appellate courts in Indiana, it is clear that changes must be made to absentee ballot procedures in Indiana and penalties for election law violators must be strengthened."

Secretary Rokita also thanked Senator Landske for sponsoring Senate Bill 398, which also passed on Wednesday and further implements the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 and incorporates recommendations of the Vote Indiana Team into election administration procedures.