The Indiana voting registration mess. I'll try to clarify. | THE POLITICUS

The Indiana voting registration mess. I'll try to clarify.

     Just to recap, on Friday I wrote a chronicling the State Police raid in Indiana on an independent voter registration effort serving minority communities. The situation changed overnight, so I posted a follow up listing efforts to fight back against the suppression. But there are some discrepancies in the articles, so I’d like to clear them up if possible.

     In the article on Friday, I was quoting from an article in the Indy Star, which stated that county clerks had notified the State Police about the discrepancies. According to the article, incorrectly filled out applications would cause those people, showing up to vote, to be given provisional ballots, which would be held aside until the application was filled out correctly and approved. There was a good reason for this, the forms were not obvious fraud, things like the zip code were incorrect or blank, or the area code on the phone number was transposed or missing, the rest of the information appeared to be valid. In other words, no disenfranchisement, just inconvenience for the people who screwed up. If it wasn’t for the heavy handed tactics of the State Police, it would have been a total non story.

     Today’s story in the Washington Post has a different take. The manager of the group Indiana Voter Registration Project is saying that 45,000 registrations have been confiscated by the State Police. If this is true, then we are looking at the state attempting do suppress the right of about 45,000 largely minority voters for approximately 100 incorrectly filled out forms. This is No Bueno!

     For me, the confusion is what forms were confiscated. If what the ISP confiscated was IVRP’s record copies, those are not official forms. And we already have proof from the ISP’s own mouth that it was county clerks that alerted them to the incorrectly filled out forms, so the clerks have at least some of them. Years ago, when I registered voters, I turned them in to my supervisor daily, it was my impression that they were all dropped off together once a week, which makes sense. The IVRP has been operating since May, I find it inconceivable that they would let applications pile up in their office for 5 months, and the fact that county clerks notified the ISP seems to bear this out.

     Is it even legally possible for the Indiana State Police to confiscate 45,000 applications from county clerks for what the ISP itself admits might be about 100 incomplete or incorrectly filled out forms? Can the ISP legally order county clerks to stop processing applications submitted by the IVRP? I don’t know, I will leave that to an expert on Indiana election law to answer. One thing I do know. The last day to register to vote in Indiana was either Tuesday or Wednesday. I cannot imagine the county clerks not processing forms they already had in their possession before the deadline if they are found to be valid. But if the ISP scooped up a bunch of recent filled out applications that had not yet been turned in from IVRP, what happens to them? The deadline has passed, if the ISP releases them now, can the county clerks refuse to process them since they were submitted after the deadline, even though they were filled out a week earlier and would have been turned in well before the deadline if they were not confiscated by the ISP?

     No matter how you look at it, this is a bloody mess! And I don’t like it one little bit. Too many men and women, both brave service members and civil rights activists died to gain and protect this cherished right for us! I’m not about to just sit around and watch a bunch of GOP sore losers fuck with it. I am going to continue to dig in on this, and if I can get any kind of comprehensive answers to the status of those registrations, I’ll post another updated diary.

     Thanks as always for reading, you are ALL the wind beneath my wings!

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