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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

Daniel P. Tokaji

The Supreme Court and the RIght to Vote

Daniel P. Tokaji

For over 130 years, the U.S. Supreme Court has said that the right to vote fundamental. The idea is that voting for candidates who represent our views is the primary means through which we protect our interests, whatever they might be.  Yet ecent events raise serious questions about the currently short-staffed Supreme Court’s capacity to protect the right to vote against 21st Century threats. 

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In the News

Daniel P. Tokaji

An Obscure Ohio State Law Could Shake Up the Republican Convention

Professor Dan Tokaji was quoted in an ABC News article about the Republican Convention:

“It’s entirely imaginable that these kind of controversies will emerge if Donald Trump goes into Cleveland without 1,237,” said Dan Tokaji, an expert in election law at the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University, referring the number of delegates needed to clinch the nomination. “There’s going to be a furious jockeying for these delegates.”

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Info & Analysis

6th Circuit Reverses District Court, Rules Against State in Ohio Voter Rolls Case

In an opinion issued today, a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that Ohio\'s procedures for removing voters from registration rolls violates the National Voter Registration Act and the Help America Vote Act. The case is Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute v. Husted.

more info & analysis...