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Brennan Center Statement on the Indiana Voter ID Case

September 28, 2007

For Immediate Release:
September 28, 2007

Mike Webb, 212–998–6746
Justin Levitt, 212–998–6730

Brennan Center Statement on the Indiana Voter ID Case

Today, the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to hear Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, a challenge to Indiana’s voter ID law which is the most restrictive in the country. The statement may be attributed to Justin Levitt, counsel in the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center:

“This is the biggest case about the mechanics of elections since Bush v. Gore. The Supreme Court has now taken a case that could determine which American citizens are able to exercise their right to vote and which Americans are not. We look forward to offering the Court the benefit of amicus briefs on behalf of a wide array of groups that are dedicated to ensuring that elections work for the American people.

”One crucial issue before the Court is whether a state may lock eligible citizens out of polling booths based on an alleged interest that has no basis in fact. Overly restrictive requirements like Indiana’s amount to a solution that doesn’t work for a problem that doesn’t exist.. These sorts of laws are justified as a way to prevent voter fraud at the polls, but the truth is that this sort of voter fraud is a phantom menace, less likely than getting struck by lightning.

“The fact is these laws disproportionately burden elderly, minority, student and low income voters. Photo IDs, even drivers’ licenses, can cost as much as $65—a high price for any person to participate in our democracy. And the price of the ID you need in order to get a valid voting ID can be even more expensive. Moreover, other studies have shown that approximately 10% of voting-age citizens do not have the documents required by such laws and that ID requirements deter approximately 3% of current, registered voters, not to mention those eligible citizens who haven’t recently voted but don’t deserve to be locked out of the process into the future.

”Other courts have struck down restrictive identification laws in Missouri and New Mexico, and we’re hopeful the Supreme Court will see through needless attempts to disenfranchise legitimate American voters. The government should encourage all eligible citizens to vote, not put obstacles in their way."

For more information about restrictive ID laws and voter fraud, visit And to read the Brennan Center’s Policy Brief on Voter Identification, click here.