Federal Judge Hears Case On Indiana Voter List Maintenance Law

May 2, 2018

Voter advocacy groups say an Indiana law will illegally throw Hoosiers off the voting rolls. And they’re suing to stop the state from using that law.

A federal court hearing Wednesday centered on Indiana’s use of what’s known as the Interstate Crosscheck system.

The Crosscheck system, which is run by the Kansas Secretary of State, looks for voters who seem to be registered in two different states. If it finds apparent matches, those matches get sent to participating states, including Indiana. The state then does its own check, and if enough voter info lines up, it's forwarded to individual counties.

A 2017 Indiana law says counties must then determine if flagged voters are registered elsewhere – and if so, they can be immediately deleted from the rolls.

But voter advocacy groups argued in court that federal law bars immediate deletion. They say it requires notification and at least two federal election cycles before the registration can be purged.

Attorneys for the state argue the groups’ lawsuit is premature and speculative because the state hasn’t yet been able to use Crosscheck this year. They say Crosscheck has been uncommunicative about how its system will work this year, and the state says that could be because of data breach concerns.

Federal judge Tanya Walton Pratt seemed skeptical of some of the state’s arguments. She did not give a specific timetable for her ruling.