Federal Court Blocks Indiana Voter Purge Crosscheck Law

June 8, 2018 6:00 pm

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INDIANAPOLIS — A federal court has temporarily blocked the implementation of a new Indiana law that would allow county elections officials to kick voters off the rolls immediately and without notice based on flawed second-hand data.

The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Indiana, Demos, and the firm Davis Wright Tremaine are challenging the law, known as SEA 442, which strips federally mandated safeguards from a state purge process that relies on a program called Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck. That program is run by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has been successfully sued multiple times over his voter suppression policies. The case was brought on behalf of Common Cause Indiana.

Under the program, states are given lists of voters whose names and birthdates match those of voters registered in other participating states. That program is prone to error because it relies on incomplete voter information to target voters for removal. Despite this, SEA 442 would permit local election authorities to immediately purge Indiana voters from the voter rolls based solely on this second-hand information from Crosscheck without notice or an opportunity to correct the record.

In issuing a preliminary injunction today, the court agreed that the “Crosscheck system has inherent flaws and limitations, which makes it an unreliable source on which to base voter registration cancellations without further investigation.” It also said “the implementation of SEA 442 will likely fail to be uniform” in violation of federally mandated requirements.

The following comments are from:

Sophia Lakin, Staff Attorney, ACLU’s Voting Rights Project: “The court’s decision ensures that duly registered voters will not be improperly kicked off the rolls based on flawed Crosscheck data. This law would have deprived people of their right to vote. The court was correct to block it from taking effect — particularly in the lead up to the 2018 midterm elections.”

Jane Henegar, Executive Director, ACLU of Indiana: “Hoosier-elected officials should do all that they can to promote voter engagement. Today’s ruling condemns actions to the contrary that threaten to suppress the vote. Voting is our constitutional right and we must ensure every voice is heard.”

Stuart Naifeh, Senior Counsel, Demos: “Today’s decision blocks Indiana from kicking its voters off the rolls based on flawed information without even bothering to notify them first — or ever. Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy, and the right to vote cannot be taken away based on what amounts to a mere hunch that the voter might have moved away. We commend the court for recognizing the Crosscheck program’s significant faults and for protecting the fundamental right to vote of Indiana citizens.”

The ruling is at: https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/common-cause-indiana-v-lawson-preliminary-injunction-order

More information is at: https://www.aclu.org/cases/common-cause-indiana-v-lawson

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