OSU Navigation Bar

Election Law @ Moritz Home Page

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

In the News

Edward B. Foley

Gerrymandering Is Headed Back to the Supreme Court

Professor Edward Foley was requoted in Mother Jones about a gerrymandering case in Wisconsin on its way to the Supreme Court. Other legal actions on partisan gerrymandering in Maryland and in North Carolina may be bound for the Supreme Court as well.

While previous Supreme Court cases have noted that partisan gerrymanders are “incompatible with democratic principles,” The New York Times originally reported, the court has never officially struck a case down. While it remains unseen how the Supreme Court will rule in the upcoming cases, a 2004 ruling from a previous gerrymandering case could play a pivotal role in how the court stands in the future. 

“The ordered working of our Republic, and of the democratic process, depends on a sense of decorum and restraint in all branches of government, and in the citizenry itself,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote in 2004. Kennedy’s statement is “the most important line” in the decision, Foley told The New York Times, adding,  “He’s going to look at what’s going on in North Carolina as the complete absence of that. I think that helps the plaintiffs in any of these cases.”


 

more EL@M in the news...

Info & Analysis

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Wisconsin Gerrymandering Case

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider a gerrymandering case involving Wisconsin state legislative districts. The court also granted a request by the state to temporarily block the lower court\'s decision until the appeal is resolved. The case is Gill v. Whitford.

more info & analysis...