The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides for equal application of the laws, prohibiting states from denying any person the equal protection of its laws.
The ACLU of Indiana stands against the coordinated attack on voting rights in this country, which includes the administration's so-called "Election Integrity" Commission.
The "Election Integrity" Commission, formed by President Trump and chaired by Vice President Mike Pence, asked every state in the nation to provide voter data, including full names of all registrants, addresses and dates of birth; last four digits of social security number; and political party and voter history. We believe that a request with this kind of sensitive information could be a violation of privacy.
Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, who sits on the commission, refused to hand over Indiana voter data, citing state law. In Indiana a voter's name, address and congressional district are available to the public; beyond that voter information is kept private.
"We have demanded to know the basis for the "Election Integrity" Commission and we will fight efforts to use the commission as a pretext for voter suppression." says Jane Henegar, Executive Director of the ACLU of Indiana. "The real threat to electoral integrity is too many eligible voters do not vote, here in Indiana and across the country."
In the 2016 election, Indiana had the lowest voter turnout in the nation. In May of this year, the ACLU of Indiana filed one of five Freedom of Information Act requests seeking to know the information that the Trump administration is using as the basis for its voter fraud claims.
The ACLU of Indiana will continue to monitor the commission, protect Hoosiers' privacy, and take legal action as necessary.
Go here for more information on Kris Kobach and his impact on voter rights.
Go here for more information on what we have done in Indiana to protect the right to vote.
ELECTION DAY is Tuesday, November 8, 2016.
If you believe your voting rights have been violated, you may contact an attorney or the Election Protection Hotline (866-OUR-VOTE) or the Department of Justice Voting Rights Hotline (800-253-3931).
You have the right to vote in Indiana if:
- You are both a U.S. citizen and a resident of Indiana;
- You will be at least 18 years of age on or before the next General or Municipal Election;
- You are not currently in prison after being convicted of a crime;
- You have lived in the precinct where you vote for at least 30 days prior to the election; and
- You are registered to vote.
In the 2016 presidential election, up to 17 states, including Indiana, may have restrictive voting laws in place. Collectively, these 17 states are home to over 110 million people and will wield 189 of the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the presidency. Overall, the ACLU is fighting in 15 states, challenging various hurdles to registration, cutbacks on early voting, and strict voter identification requirements. Learn more by visiting: https://www.aclu.org/feature/voting-rights-2016-whats-stake
On October 20, 2015, Judge Sarah Evans Barker ruled on our challenge to an Indiana law, that would have made it a level six felony for a voter to take a ballot "selfie" at the polls or to share it on social networks.
A core function of the ACLU of Indiana is to protect the rights of free speech and expression guaranteed by the Constitution. The ACLU of Indiana filed the lawsuit on Aug. 27, on behalf of its members who wish to take and share pictures of their ballots.
In her decision in favor of the ACLU of Indiana, the Judge said the law, Indiana Code § 3-11-8.15.5, which took effect July 1 and banned the practice of taking or sharing a photograph of one's ballot, violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and "...embodies a content-based restriction on speech that cannot survive strict scrutiny because it neither serves compelling state interests nor is narrowly tailored to achieve those interests."
On Sept. 9, 2015, the ACLU pf Indiana won a challenge to Marion County's judicial election system in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. The lawsuit had been brought in Nov., 2012 by Common Cause Indiana, and challenged the constitutionality of Indiana Code § 33-33-49-13, which resulted in each major party nominating candidates for only one half of judicial vacancies.
The statute effectively removed any choice from voters and rendered the election of judges a mere formality. Voters in Marion County who did not cast a ballot in the primary election had absolutely no say in electing judges. Even people who did vote in the primary election had a say in only half of the judgeships.
The following passage is excerpted from Zachary Mulholland v. Marion County Election Board, Cause No. 13-3027, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, filed March 20, 2014.
On the morning of May 8, 2012, as polling places opened to primary voters across Indiana, candidate Zachary Mulholland faced a steep climb in his bid to represent the state's 100th District in the Indiana House of Representatives. Located on the east side of Indianapolis, the district had been held by the retiring Democratic incumbent for all but two of the previous thirty-eight years. Mulholland was running as a Democrat, but he had failed to win the "slating," the endorsement of the county party's leadership. He now faced the party's slated candidate.