Press Release

NAACP Files Lawsuit against Indiana for Unlawful Voter Purges

August 24, 2017

Lawsuit Says SB 442 Violates National Voter Registration Act

BALTIMORE (August 11, 2017) – The Indiana State Conference of the NAACP and the League of Women Voters of Indiana have filed a lawsuit against the Indiana Secretary of State and the Indiana Election Division to prevent the unlawful removal of voters from the registration rolls.  The lawsuit challenges SB 442, a law that was passed in April 2017 and eliminates the requirement for Indiana state officials to comply with safeguards when removing certain voters from registration rolls.

Under this law, officials can immediately remove voters who purportedly registered in another state without notifying or verifying the move with the voter. Indiana officials screen such voters with the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck, a system which has been shown to be unreliable as the sole method for identifying and removing voters who may have moved from one state to another.

“The disingenuous act of using the idea of voter fraud as a means to disenfranchise communities violates the core ideals of our democracy,” said Derrick Johnson, Interim President and CEO of the NAACP. “The NAACP will fight tooth and nail against any attempt to suppress the vote of communities of color.”

Plaintiffs in the case contest that SB 442 violates the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. The NVRA ensures that a voter who changes residences cannot be removed from the rolls unless the voter (a) confirms the move, or (b) receives a mailed notice of their impending removal, fails to respond to the notice, and fails to vote in two consecutive federal elections. SB 442 overlooks these provisions and would allow state officials to purge names from registration rolls without due diligence.

“No Hoosier should be silenced on Election Day,” said Barbara Bolling-Williams, President of the Indiana State Conference of the NAACP. “Yet, under this new law, that will happen. It’s vital that Indiana follow federal law and ensure that voters are not wrongfully removed from the rolls.”

As an advocate for voting rights, the NAACP will continue to pursue legal action to challenge all voter suppression schemes, whether they take the form of flagrant voter purging or any other malicious guises. Earlier this month, the NAACP continued this stance by denouncing yet another attempt at voter suppression – President Trump’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

This case marks the second lawsuit, this year, which the NAACP has filed in Indiana – the home state of Vice President, Mike Pence, whom Trump nominated to lead the Commission.

 

 

ABOUT THE NAACP:

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas by visiting NAACP.org.

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