Indiana officials considering delay of May primary election

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana officials are considering delaying the state’s primary election as several other states are doing to help ensure voters worried about the coronavirus outbreak can safely cast their ballots.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb said Thursday he was in favor of pushing back Indiana’s May 5 primary but that GOP Secretary of State Connie Lawson was leading discussions with state political party leaders.

Holcomb said he was concerned about the safety of county election officials, polling site workers and voters.

“I’ll support, ultimately, the decision to delay our primary election,” Holcomb said. “... We’re trying to build consensus here. That’s the best outcome for something as important as an election.”

Indiana has no challenged races for statewide elected offices in this year’s primary and it is uncertain whether the Democratic presidential race will remain undecided. Multiple candidates are seeking nominations for congressional seats being given up by Democratic Rep. Pete Visclosky and Republican Rep. Susan Brooks.

Ohio and Kentucky are among at least seven states that have delayed primaries and others are considering increased voting by mail.

Indiana’s Republican and Democratic party chairman wrote a joint letter to the state election commission last week asking for it to relax the rules for requesting mail-in absentee ballots.

The commission hasn’t yet taken any action and the secretary of state’s office spokeswoman said she had no updates available.

State Democratic Chairman John Zody said he believed conducting the primary largely by mail was the best option.

“We are engaged in a constructive dialogue with our Republican counterparts and those discussions are ongoing,” he said in a statement.