Indianapolis – A law that took effect last month prohibiting people who have committed certain sex offenses from entering school property is being challenged by a Blackford County man on behalf of himself and potentially hundreds of others whose polling places are located on school property.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana brought the class action lawsuit today on behalf of Brian Valenti of Hartford City, who committed a sex offense in California more than a quarter century ago. The claim, on First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment grounds, attempts to stop enforcement of Indiana Code § 35-42-4-14, which prevents sex offenders from voting in person at their precinct voting places. School children are not permitted in polling areas unless accompanied by adult voters.
“The right to vote is fundamental in a democracy,” said Jan Mensz, ACLU of Indiana staff attorney. “Therefore, any attempt to impinge on that right must be justified by sufficiently weighty government interests. This statute does not meet that test.”
The case, Brian Valenti, et al., v. Indiana Secretary of State, Indiana Election Commission, Indiana State Police and Blackford County Prosecutor, Case 1:15-cv-1304 was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, on August 18, 2015.