A federal appeals court today affirmed a ruling blocking an Indiana law that would have allowed county election officials to kick voters off the rolls immediately without notice.
The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Indiana, Demos, and the firm Davis Wright Tremaine challenged the law, which sought to strip federally mandated safeguards from a state purge process that relied on a program called Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck.
The law would have permitted local election authorities to immediately purge Indiana voters from the voter rolls based solely on second-hand information from Crosscheck without notice or an opportunity to correct the record.
In today’s decision, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals said, “We live in a representative democracy, in which the voice of the people is essential to the legitimacy of our governing institutions. Democracy starts with each voter’s act of showing up at the polls to express his or her preferences. The integrity of the voting process is critical, and one measure to protect that integrity is the voter-registration process. A name on a voter roll in Indiana is there only because a voter took the trouble to put it there. Laws such as the NVRA ensure that the states do not undo that work without good reason.”
The case was brought on behalf of Common Cause Indiana.
The following reaction is from:
Julia Vaughn, policy director, Common Cause Indiana: “We are extremely pleased with this decision since it means that Indiana counties will have to follow federal law when maintaining their lists of registered voters and no Hoosier will be removed from the list without proper notice and a waiting period. Those safeguards are in the law for a reason and it is reassuring to know that Hoosier voters will be protected from unlawful purges in the future.”
Sophia Lakin, staff attorney, ACLU’s Voting Rights Project: “This ruling ensures that registered voters will not be improperly kicked off the rolls based on flawed data. This decision protects the voters of Indiana.”
Jane Henegar, executive director, ACLU of Indiana: “The fundamental right to vote has increasingly become a partisan pawn in Indiana and across the country. Voting is our constitutional right and we must ensure every voice is heard. Today’s ruling will protect numerous Hoosiers that would have otherwise been at risk of being disenfranchised unlawfully.”
Stuart Naifeh, senior counsel, Demos: “To truly represent the will of the people, elections must reflect the voices of all eligible voters who wish to participate. Kicking voters off the rolls without even bothering to notify them is inimical to this fundamental principle of democracy. Today’s decision affirms that the protections of federal law designed to protect eligible voters from unlawful purges apply with full force to Kansas’ misguided Crosscheck program.”