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Election Law @ Moritz

Election Law @ Moritz


Litigation

Crawford v. Marion County Election Board

Case Information

Date Filed / Ended: April 2, 2005 / April 28, 2008
State: Indiana
Issue: Voter ID
Courts that Heard this Case: U.S. District Court Southern District of Indiana (Indianapolis) (Case 1:05-cv-00634); U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit (Case 06-2218); U.S. Supreme Court (Case 07-25)

Issue:

Whether Indiana's statute requiring state-issued photographic voter identification is constitutional.

Status:

Judgment entered by 7th Circuit upholding the Indiana Photo ID Law, 1/4/07. Petition for rehearing filed denied. Petition for Writ of Certiorari filed with U.S. Supreme Court, 7/2/07. Certiorari granted 9/25/07. The case was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on 1/9/08.

Case Summary

In this case, the Indiana Democratic Party, the Marion Democratic Central Committee and League of Women Voters ("Plaintiffs"), are challenging Indiana's new voter identification scheme.

This law requires a voter to show valid photographic identification before casting a ballot. When voters do not have valid identification, they may cast a provisional ballot and have until the second Monday after the election to provide valid identification and sign an affidavit affirming they are the person who cast the provisional vote, or sign an affidavit claiming indigence or religious objection to having their photograph taken.

The Plaintiffs assert that there are four problems with this system: (1) the cost of the identification, travel and birth certificate required to obtain identification constitute a poll tax; (2) the need to go to the county election board to sign an affidavit constitutes an added unnecessary burden; (3) the regulations do not apply to all voters, namely absentee voters, giving rise to disparate treatment; and, (4) many of the Indiana Bureaus of Motor Vehicles, the only location to obtain valid identification, are difficult to get to, especially in rural counties.

Plaintiffs requested injunctive relief preventing the enforcement of this regulation and declaratory relief stating that the regulation violates the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Defendants, Secretary of State and the co-directors of the Indiana Election Division of the Secretary of State's office, claim they have no responsibility for enforcement of these regulations and cannot remedy the problem should judgment be granted against them, making them improper parties to this action. All Defendants, including the Marion County Elections Board, are claiming Eleventh Amendment immunity in this action.

United States Supreme Court documents

Court of Appeals Documents

District Court Documents

Related Links

Commentary

Edward B. Foley

The Electoral Fix We Really Need

Edward B. Foley

The Electoral College winner should be the majority choice in each state that counts towards that Electoral College victory.

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In the News

Edward B. Foley

White House drops Obama-era discrimination claim against Texas voter ID law

Professor Edward Foley was quoted in The Christian Science Monitor in an article about how the Trump administration dropped a discrimination claim against a Texas voter ID law. Viewed as one of the strictest voting requirements in the country by voting rights advocates, the law required voters to show one of seven valid forms of ID.

A federal appeals court ruled last year that the law disproportionately impacted minorities and those living in poverty. The court required the state to adjust its requirements before the general election. According to court testimony, Hispanic voters were twice as likely to lack proper ID under the law, while black voters were three times as likely.

“Voting litigation is increasing, not decreasing,” Foley said. “The main impression … is that when a law looks like it’s engaging in outright disenfranchisement of a valid voter, even conservative judges have been stopping that. [But] the judiciary is more tolerant with state legislatures adjusting issues of convenience and accessibility, if the adjustment is not outright disenfranchisement.”
 

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Info & Analysis

District Judge Dismisses Georgia Voter Rolls Case

In an order released late Friday, U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten dismissed a lawsuit filed against Georgia\'s Secretary of State by the advocacy organization Common Cause, which alleged that Georgia unlawfully removed voters from registration lists preceding the 2016 Presidential election. The case is Common Cause v. Kemp.

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