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U.S. Supreme Court prods Indiana AG to respond in suit seeking no-excuse absentee voting

The Indiana attorney general’s office is being prodded by the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on a lawsuit arguing that the state should implement no-excuse absentee voting.

The formal request from the high court to the attorney general’s office, first reported in The Indiana Lawyer, relates to a case from Indiana, Tully, et al. v. Okeson, et al., 20-1244.

The letter, from the clerk of the U.S. Supreme Court to Indiana Solicitor General Thomas M. Fisher of the attorney general’s office, noted that the office earlier had waived its right to file a response to a petition for the writ of certiorari which seeks review of the case by the high court, adding “the Court nevertheless has directed this office to request that a response be filed” and setting May 21 as the deadline to respond.

The suit was filed by Barbara Tully, board president of the non-partisan Indiana Vote by Mail organization, and 12 Indiana voters, seeking to overturn the Indiana Election Commission’s decision not to allow all voters to vote by absentee ballot in the general election in November 2020. The commission had allowed no-excuse absentee voting in the primary election in May 2020 after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

A U.S. District court ruled against the plaintiffs in August 2020; the ruling was upheld by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in October 2020, and the plantiffs then sought review by the U.S. Supreme Court. — The Indiana Citizen