Secretary of State Connie Lawson (left) and Indiana State Health Commissioner Kristina Box listen to Gov. Eric Holcomb announce the rescheduling of the May 5 primary to June 2.
Secretary of State Connie Lawson (left) and Indiana State Health Commissioner Kristina Box listen to Gov. Eric Holcomb announce the rescheduling of the May 5 primary to June 2.
By BRIAN A. HOWEY

NASHVILLE, Ind. - Saying all Hoosiers "have a right to elect our leaders in a safe and open environment," Gov. Eric Holcomb, Secretary of State Connie Lawson and the two major party chairs jointly announced the May 5 primary has been rescheduled for June 2.

Lawson said she has been in contact with county clerks and said she would ask the Indiana Election Commission to "suspend all absentee ballot rules" to allow that option to a broader swathe of the public and have ballots delivered to polling officials by family members. While Republican Chairman Kyle Hupfer and Democratic Chairman John Zody had pushed for universal vote-by-mail, Lawson said, "Clerks were concerned about capacity if everybody voted by absentee."

Moving the election to June 2 would shift a number of pre-election deadlines, including campaign finance reporting, registration and the dispatching of military ballots. "The reason we all came to agreement for June 2 was to give both parties time to work through their state and national convention processes. All of these steps will be in concert," Lawson said. "It will be a learning process. I am confident we will conduct a safe and secure election." 

Holcomb reiterated his view stated on Thursday that the May 5 primary "needed to be pushed back to ensure the safety of county employees, poll workers and voters." He added that he wanted to give Lawson, Hupfer and Zody "time to build a consensus."

Hupfer said, “Hoosiers have always come together in times of crisis and today’s bipartisan announcement to move Indiana’s primary election to June 2 is yet another example of that unity. Moving our primary is not a step we took lightly, but it is necessary. Moving to June 2 will provide for the safety and security of all involved in the election process and allow additional time for those tasked with the job of conducting the election to prepare."

Hupfer added that he and the Republican Central Committee are "planning for an alternative if required" for the party's June convention.

Zody, who is on the ballot himself for an Indiana Senate seat, said of his party's June 13 convention, "We have been talking about what alternatives would be." He said that the election of delegates to the Democratic National Convention occurs at the state convention. Asked if the Democratic Central Committee was on board with the delay, Zody said, "We have had robust discussions. We have folks who have concerns and folks who are in support."

The Indiana Election Commission was supposed to meet today, but pushed that back to 10 a.m. March 25.