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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

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Commentary

Election Law @ Moritz is 10 Years Old!

Back in 2004, those of us who worked on election law here at Ohio State realized that Ohio might play a pivotal role in the upcoming presidential election. (It did, but for the sake of the nation not as pivotally as it might have.) We also knew that 2004 would be the first presidential election after passage of the Help America Vote Act, with all its new rules on voter registration databases, voter identification, and provisional ballots. We thought it might be useful if, as a team, we tried to get up to speed on the new terrain of “election administration law,” which had been a sleepy field in terms of scholarship before 2000. We had a sense that teamwork would enable us to produce various forms of useful scholarship that we could not accomplish working separately.

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Daniel P. Tokaji

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Professor Daniel Tokaji was quoted in an article from the Associated Press about an attorney general opinion that allows the Ohio treasurer to conduct telephone town halls using public money. The opinion will likely have broad ramifications for the upcoming elections, Tokaji said.

“As a practical matter, while that legal advice is certainly right, very serious concerns can arise about whether these are really intended to inform Ohio constituents about the operations of his office or if they’re campaign events,” he said.

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