Appeal Court Blocks Indiana Voter Purge Law

A federal appeals court blocked a 2017 Indiana law that allowed local county election officials to kick voters off the roles immediately without cause.

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals Monday upheld an injunction that has blocked enforcement of an Indiana law that would allow local officials to purge voter roles based on a third-party company known as Crosscheck, without actually contacting a voter directly to confirm the finding.

Crosscheck uses data from participating states to aggregate voter data to identify potential duplicate voter registrations. While participating states follow up on Crosscheck matches by sending federally-required notices to voters, the Indiana law would automatically remove a voter from the rolls if a database “match” was found.

 “The integrity of the voting process is critical, and one measure to protect that integrity is the voter-registration process,” wrote Judge Diane Wood. “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 [National Voter Registration Law] ensure that the states do not undo that work without good reason,” she said. The NVRA is to ensure that states do not undo that work without good reason, she said.

The Indiana law had no provision for contacting the voter or confirming a desire to change home state registration or cancel the Indiana registration.

The NAACP, League of Women Voters of Indiana and Common Cause sued state voter officials arguing the law violates federal law, represented by the ACLU.

Indiana argued that by passing an election law with alleged potential to confuse or disenfranchise voters, it did the civil rights groups a favor, by giving them more of the work they were created to do. Indiana compared it to a tax-preparation business saying it was hurt by a tax law change that created more business.

“It is hard to take that analogy seriously,” wrote Wood. “The organizations would like nothing better than to go out of business because all voter suppression has ceased,” she said.

Case: Common Cause Indiana v. Lawson, No. 18-2491

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