Another Legal Defeat for Indiana Voter Purge Law

INDIANAPOLIS – A block has been upheld on an Indiana law that opponents say would threaten the integrity of the voting process.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday affirmed a preliminary injunction on the 2017 law that would have allowed the state to kick people off the voter-registration list based solely on information from the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program.

Gavin Rose, senior staff attorney with the ACLU of Indiana, saud Hoosiers could have been removed from the rolls without any notice or waiting period. 

"The system that the state sought to incorporate is not 100% reliable," he said, "and if you even run the risk of purging Jane Smith from the voter rolls when Jane Smith very much wants to show up and vote, that is a very, very serious problem in our democratic form of government."

The state had argued that the methods used by the Interstate Crosscheck system to determine whether a voter's registration matches one in another state is enough to satisfy the National Voter Registration Act. However, a study released early this year found that the matching protocol incorrectly flags people as potential "double voters" more than 99% of the time.

Rose said the State of Indiana still has options if it wants to appeal.

"They have the right to petition for en banc review in the Seventh Circuit or seek 'cert' in the Supreme Court," he said. "They also have the right to continue pushing the case in the District Court for summary judgment, or potentially a trial. Given this ruling, I would be hard-pressed to find a way in which they can continue pushing the case in the District Court."

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of Common Cause Indiana.

The ruling is online at aclu-in.org, and the research is at scholar.harvard.edu.

Mary Schuermann Kuhlman, Public News Service - IN