Target: Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice
Goal: Investigate apparently politically-motivated police raid on voter registration office.
State police forced Indiana’s largest voter registration drive to shut down, and about 45,000 newly registered voters–mostly people of color–may not be allowed to cast their ballots. Police raided the offices of the Indiana Voter Registration Project (IVRP), seized their equipment and documents, and ended its registration drive a full week before the state’s registration period is over. It is projected that about 5,000 more voters would have been registered in that week, had they been able.
IVRP is unclear on why it is being targeted by police and election officials or what law it violated. Police say they are investigating IVRP to look for fraud and forgery. However, there is speculation that the raid was a political move meant to keep minorities from voting. The IVRP was created to improve voter participation in Indiana, especially in African American neighborhoods in and outside of cities, after the state had the lowest turnout rate in the country in 2014. Secretary of State Connie Lawson (R) responded by going after these voter registration groups instead of supporting them, and warning elections officials to inform Police Special Investigations if they received a registration from IVRP out of fear of forgery. Voter fraud, however, is exceedingly rare, even though the Trump/Pence campaign claims otherwise.
The Superintendent of the Indiana State Police (appointed by Pence) has appeared on television and radio to push the “voter-fraud myth.” He denied that the investigation is politically driven, and yet it is very unusual for the police to have become spokespeople for the electoral system in Indiana, and they were already using aggressive tactics in their questioning of IVRP workers. It is unprecedented for state police to become involved in voter registration this way, and it is still uncertain what will happen to the 45,000 registrations being investigated or whether those people will be allowed to vote. Sign below to demand that this situation be fully investigated and the lawful workings of our democracy be preserved.
Dear Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division,
The police raid on the offices of the Indiana Voter Registration Project (IVRP) a full week before the end of the registration period could result in thousands of Americans being unable to cast their votes, and thousands more being prevented even from registering. This will have a huge effect on the country, and this level of police involvement in voter registration is highly unusual. The possibility that this raid was a politically-driven attempt to prevent certain demographics–specifically, minorities–from voting, must be investigated, as this would be a complete miscarriage of justice and of human rights.
State police are said to be investigating voter fraud; however, voter fraud is much less common than a lot of campaign rhetoric would have us believe. IVRP was informed about only 10 applications that were problematic (though none of those appeared to show fraudulent intent), and yet local news reported that the police seized 250 applications, not to mention shutting the entire operation down. The circumstances surrounding this raid are unclear at best, not to mention unprecedented. I urge you to launch a full investigation into this situation and preserve the integrity of our democracy and our rights as citizens.
[Your Name Here]