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Judge Permanently Halts Indiana's Illegal Voter Purge Method

Jay Phagan

A federal judge struck down an Indiana law that tried to more quickly – and illegally – purge people from its voter rolls.

The case, filed by the citizens advocacy group Common Cause Indiana, went back nearly three years.

Federal law requires states to “clean” their voter rolls – remove people who have, for instance, moved. But it says any such system must give voters notice and then wait two federal election cycles to remove them.

Indiana tried to speed up the process by using “Crosscheck,” a program run by the Kansas Secretary of State. It compared voter registration data across states to identify potential matches. Indiana would take those matches and, if it believed the voters on its rolls were registered elsewhere, immediately delete their registration.

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Crosscheck, though, was flawed and led to people being erroneously tossed off the voter rolls. And two different federal courts said it was illegal for Indiana to use Crosscheck to remove voters without giving them notice and waiting the two election cycles.

So, Indiana lawmakers this year withdrew from Crosscheck and created a new system, run by Indiana. But the new system essentially did the same thing Crosscheck did – and it failed to observe the notice and waiting period guidelines in federal law.

And now, a federal judge says that’s also illegal, permanently striking it down.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.