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New bill takes away local political entities from enacting election laws

Senate Enrolled act 106 cancels all local ordinance surrounding elections.
Posted at 10:21 PM, Apr 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-10 22:21:35-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Governor Eric Holcomb has already signed more than a dozen measures into law. One bill signed by the governor will take away local entities' ability to pass laws surrounding elections.

Senate Enrolled Act 106 is what is referred to as a pre-emptive law. This is when the state legislature takes away a local body of government's ability to pass a law in the first place.

It was filed in response to the city of Westfield attempting to create term limits for mayoral and city council elected officials. The mayor of Westfield vetoed this resolution, but the council overrode it.

This law cancels all local ordinance surrounding elections. One political expert tells WRTV these laws are becoming more common with republican controlled legislatures.

"Republican trifectas of which there are many where republicans control the statehouse, the state senate and the governor’s mansion are increasingly relying on pre-emption as a tool,” Greg Shufeldt an Associate Professor of Political Science at UIndy said. “Which kind of flies in the face of what we might suspect but this is largely about politics not necessarily about sincere ideological views about the right level of government."

However, supporters say it will increase voter's trust in elections at a time when many people are questioning election integrity.

"Whether or not you like this particular action by a local government it could be one you don't like if you allow this process,” John Pudner the President of Take Back Our Republic Action said. “For example, the issues that came up was term limits. We actually favor term limits but not having one locality putting them in place to get rid of one Mayor. “

Something unique about this piece of legislation is that it had bi-partisan support.

Bottom Line: Under this law, If a local entity wants to enact term limits or anything election related, they’d have to get the legislature on board. This bill is retroactive so it’s currently in effect.