INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis City-County Council on Monday approved additional funding for both additional personal protective equipment and absentee ballot applications made necessary by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Council approved $750,000 of additional funding for the Office of Public Health and Safety to provide for medical supplies such as personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer. The additional funding also allows for more frequent and thorough cleaning of public spaces and addresses capacity issues at the Marion County morgue.
The second proposal authorized just over $2 million for the Marion County Elections Board to provide for mailing of absentee ballot applications and the equipment needed to manage an election season unlike any other.
"We have an equal responsibility to protect the health of our city and the health of our democracy in this unprecedented time," Council President Vop Osili, said in a statement. "The action taken tonight ensures that Indianapolis residents can access their fundamental right to vote without undue risk to public health or the nightmare voting scenarios we've seen in other places around the country."
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett issued the following statement following the passage of the proposals:
Dr. Virginia Caine and our public health experts have been clear that due to the COVID-19 outbreak, everyone should be encouraged to use absentee ballots rather than in-person voting on Election Day. This will ensure the process is as efficient and secure as possible, enabling all registered voters the opportunity to quickly cast their ballot without time-consuming delays or concerns of large crowds. For so many in our city, this will be the first time they have voted by mail, and we have an obligation to make the democratic process as accessible as it can be. I want to applaud the City-County Council for taking swift action this evening to provide every registered voter with an absentee ballot application and ensure safe access to the ballot for Indianapolis residents.