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League of Women Voters of Indiana, Indiana NAACP, et. al. v. Connie Lawson, et. al.

Brennan Center and co-counsel filed a lawsuit on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Indiana and the Indiana NAACP seeking to prevent Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson from producing voter registration information to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

Published: May 21, 2018

On July 11, the Bren­nan Center and co-coun­sel filed a lawsuit on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Indi­ana, the Indi­ana NAACP, and Joselyn Whit­ticker seek­ing to prevent Indi­ana Secret­ary of State Connie Lawson from produ­cing voter regis­tra­tion inform­a­tion to the Pres­id­en­tial Advis­ory Commis­sion on Elec­tion Integ­rity in a manner that does not comply with State law. Indi­ana limits access to indi­vidu­al­ized voter regis­tra­tion data to certain entit­ies and certain purposes; the Commis­sion’s invest­ig­a­tion and public disclos­ure of data does not qual­ify. Secret­ary Lawson’s shar­ing of data with the Commis­sion could poten­tially harm millions of registered Indi­ana voters.

Back­ground

On June 28, Kansas Secret­ary of State Kris Kobach – who serves as vice-chair of the Commis­sion – reques­ted names, address, birth­d­ates, the last four digits of a voter’s social secur­ity number if avail­able, voter history, milit­ary status, and felony convic­tion history from states across the coun­try.  Kobach, who has a long-time history of support­ing voter suppres­sion efforts, stated that this inform­a­tion was reques­ted to “fully analyze vulner­ab­il­it­ies and issues related to voter regis­tra­tion and voting.”

In Secret­ary Lawson’s public response to the Commis­sion’s request on June 30, she stated that while state law prevents her from provid­ing some personal inform­a­tion the Commis­sion reques­ted, she would provide voters’ names, address, and congres­sional districts. Secret­ary Lawson made no mention of any writ­ten agree­ment between the Commis­sion and Indi­ana’s Elec­tion Divi­sion, a legal prerequis­ite to obtain­ing the data.

Currently, there have been seven federal lawsuits filed chal­len­ging the action, includ­ing five in Wash­ing­ton D.C., one in Flor­ida, and one in New York. In addi­tion, lawsuits have been filed in state court in New Hamp­shire and Idaho as well. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have declined to provide any data, and others — like Lawson — have said they will provide publicly avail­able data.

The organ­iz­a­tional plaintiffs in the suit — The League of Women Voters of Indi­ana and the Indi­ana NAACP — are repres­en­ted by the Bren­nan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, Kirk­land and Ellis LLP, and Trent A. McCain of McCain Law Offices, P.C.

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