Working on legislation to benefit Hoosiers

Friday, February 6, 2015

Working on legislation to benefit Hoosiers

As a lawmaker, my goal is to author and support legislation that addresses the concerns of Hoosiers, changes our state for the better and is good, sound policy. Some of the best concepts for legislation evolves from the feedback and input I receive back in my district. House Bill (HB) 1008 is a bill that I feel meets these guidelines by working to make much needed updates to our current voting and election laws.

One part of this legislation is that it ends straight ticket voting as in general or municipal elections. Indiana is only one of 11 states to offer straight ticket voting. The intent behind this proposal to eliminate the option is to encourage Hoosiers to choose the leaders they feel best represent their ideas, rather than what political party they belong to.

In today’s information age, voters have more opportunity than ever before to learn about the views of individuals seeking office; however, straight ticket voting does discourage thoughtful consideration of issues and candidates. By eliminating straight ticket voting, we are encouraging transparency and ensuring that more Hoosiers are making informed decisions about the individuals seeking office.

Another issue addressed by HB 1008 is the candidate withdrawal deadline. We all know that unexpected events occur in life, which can affect those running for office as well. My goal is to push back the date a candidate must withdraw as a candidate in order to be replaced on the ballot. Not only would this give voters plenty of time to meet and research their new candidate, but also allow counties to adequately prepare for the election.

Currently, Noble County is one of the few that utilizes voting centers in Indiana. To allow voting centers, counties are required to have a unanimous vote of support from the county election board. Voting centers make it easier for Hoosiers to exercise their right to vote, as you are permitted to use any voting center within your county.

Right now in many counties, polling locations are assigned, and voters must cast their vote at their assigned location. With this change, counties in the long run can save money by having fewer voting locations, incorporate newer, more efficient technologies and utilize fewer volunteers on Election Day.

Having an informed electorate is vital to creating strong, beneficial policy and I encourage anyone interested in learning about this bill to visit www.iga.in.gov. As always, feel free to contact me by email at h82@iga.in.gov or by phone at 317-232-9643 on this issue or any question or concern you may have.

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Rep. Ober represents all of Noble County and portions of Allen, Elkhart, LaGrange and Whitley counties.