INDIANAPOLIS — A federal appeals court has upheld a ruling that found illegal an Indiana law that would have allowed county elections officials to kick voters off the rolls immediately without their explicit consent or notice and an opportunity to correct the record.
The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Indiana, Demos, and the firm Davis Wright Tremaine challenged the law, which sought to circumvent federally mandated safeguards from a state purge process, allowing voters to be purged based solely on second-hand information without notice or an opportunity to correct the record.
The ACLU/Demos case was brought on behalf of Common Cause Indiana, which was consolidated with the League of Women Voters of Indiana v. Sullivan lawsuit and heard by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in April 2021.
Previously in this case, federal courts blocked a virtually identical law that relied on data from the controversial Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck program. Instead of fixing the problems, Indiana enacted a new law that replicated the same flawed procedures and simply swapped the Crosscheck program with an Indiana-based program called the Indiana Data Enhancement Association.
The following is reaction to today’s Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruling:
Julia Vaughn, executive director, Common Cause Indiana: “Today’s ruling is a victory for the voters of Indiana and their right not to be removed from the voter rolls without their explicit consent. Voter roll purges are a form of voter suppression and prevent everyday Hoosiers from having their voices heard at the ballot box. We are pleased that the U.S. Court of Appeals has come down on the side of the voters, protecting their right to remain on the voter rolls and participate in our democracy.”
Sophia Lakin, deputy director, ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, who argued the appeal: “This ruling is an important victory in the battle to protect voting rights. This decision affirms critical protections for voters by ensuring that Indiana voters will not be knocked off the voting rolls without their explicit consent or the safeguards mandated by federal law.”
Jane Henegar, executive director, ACLU of Indiana: “Voting is our constitutional right. Government ought to encourage every voice to be heard and to be counted, if we are to consider ourselves a democracy. Too many Hoosiers face obstacles to exercising their fundamental right to vote. We are glad that this voter-roll purge system will not be one of those barriers."
Matt Jedreski, attorney, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP: “Racial equity, access to justice, and the right to vote are central to the core values of our firm. It’s been a privilege to work on this case with such outstanding partners and we look forward to continuing to fight for fundamental rights nationwide.”