Indiana is spending $2.1 million to identify and remove voters who are dead or have moved out‐of‐state from its voter rolls, and it’s using postcards to do it. In May 2014 the state sent out postcards to all registered voters. If the postcard is returned as undeliverable, the state will send out a second postcard. If that card comes back, the voter is deemed inactive. If he or she fails to vote in the next two federal elections, his or her name will be removed from the rolls.
According to Project Vote, “Indiana has been gaining a reputation as one of the states most hostile to voting rights. It was one of the first states to implement strict photo voter ID, and earlier this year the legislature considered a rule to prevent students who pay out‐of‐state tuition from voting. Now, [the new law] would result in another reduction of voting rights in the state.”
Common Cause Indiana, Gamaliel of Indiana, Project Vote, and Transforming Action through Power (TAP) believe the new law may create risks for Indiana voters:
- The [new law] proposes engaging in a large‐scale data‐matching program for voter roll maintenance. These sorts of programs have repeatedly proven unreliable, and are likely to remove eligible voters due to mismatching and data entry errors. [The law] does not contain clear enough safeguards to protect voters from wrongful purging.
- Federal law ensures that applications postmarked by the voter registration deadline are to be considered submitted on time. However, [this law] ignores that law, and contains dangerously vague language about the submission of registrations that could result in confusion and missed deadlines.
- The [new law] would change the state voter registration form to require unnecessary and burdensome information from the person collecting an application. This could discourage people from volunteering for voter registration drives. But the larger problem is that, even when an eligible applicant’s information is entered accurately and completely, that registration could be considered “incomplete” because of an error by the canvasser. Additionally, the language of the bill is troublingly vague as to how (or whether) incomplete voter registration applications would be processed.