Voting Rights Groups to Argue Indiana Law Could Disenfranchise Eligible Voters
New York, N.Y. – Voting rights groups suing the state of Indiana over a law that illegally removes people from voter rolls will head to U.S. District Court in Indianapolis Wednesday for the first round of arguments in the case. The Indiana NAACP and the League of Women Voters of Indiana filed the lawsuit against Secretary of State Connie Lawson and the Indiana Election Division last year, and are being represented by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, and Trent A. McCain of McCain Law Offices, P.C.
In March 2018, the Brennan Center asked the Court to block enforcement of the law until the case is resolved, so that it does not go into effect prior to the 2018 election and risk disenfranchising eligible voters. The state is delaying implementation temporarily until July 2018, but this week plaintiffs look to make sure it’s blocked until a final decision is made in the lawsuit.
Passed during the 2017 legislative session, Indiana’s law violates the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which is the federal law that protects voters from being removed from registration rolls improperly. Known as “motor-voter,” the NVRA sets clear procedures officials must follow before deleting a voter believed to have moved from one jurisdiction to another from the rolls.
Indiana’s new law ignores these important protections by allowing election officials to immediately remove voters if the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck system identifies them as registered in another state and additional data selected by Hoosier State officials also matches. The Crosscheck system has resulted in wrongful removals when used elsewhere, often based on loose criteria such as matching a first name, last name, and date of birth alone. The lawsuit notes that in Virginia, Crosscheck had error rates as high as 17 percent.
Myrna Pérez, Director of the Center’s Voting Rights and Elections project and the organization’s lead attorney on the case, breaks down the lawsuit in a Q&A here. And for more on the case, click here.
For more information or to connect with a Brennan Center expert, contact Rebecca Autrey at Rebecca.Autrey@nyu.edu or 646-292-8316.