ILNews

High court grants transfer to voter ID case

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The Indiana Supreme Court will decide whether the state's voter identification law violates the Indiana Constitution.

The high court granted transfer today to League of Women Voters of Indiana Inc., et al. v. Todd Rokita, No. 49A02-0901-CV-40, in which the Indiana Court of Appeals unanimously found the law "regulates voters in a manner that's not uniform and impartial." The appellate court reversed Marion Superior Judge S.K. Reid's 2008 ruling that the statute didn't violate Indiana Constitution Article 2, Section 2 and Article 1, Section 23.

The Indiana Attorney General's Office filed the petition for transfer in October. The statute has been upheld by the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court in William Crawford, et al. v. Marion County Election Board, 128 S. Ct. 1610 (2008).

The League of Women Voters claimed the voter ID law passed in 2005 violates Article 2, Section 2 of the state constitution that says citizens only need to meet age, citizenship, and residency requirements in order to vote in person. The plaintiffs believed any change must come through a constitutional amendment. The plaintiffs also argued the statute violates the state constitution under the equal privileges and immunities section because it's created disparate treatment of in-person voters because not every photo ID is uniform.

The Court of Appeals found the statute unconstitutional on its face. Indiana's lack of stringent absentee-voter regulations makes it unreasonable for this voter ID statute to put additional burdens only on in-person voters and not the others, the panel held. The judges also found Crawford didn't address the state statute questions at issue in the instant case.

The presidents of League of Women Voters of Indiana and League of Women Voters of Indianapolis released a joint statement today regarding the transfer.

"We are confident that after Indiana's highest court carefully examines the Voter I.D. Law, it will conclude that the burdens it imposes on otherwise qualified voters who vote in person are not justified by, or reasonably related to, its alleged purpose of preventing fraud," the statement said. "It is unjust that in-person voters be required to present government identification if they want their ballot counted. Such a requirement imposes an additional voting qualification not authorized in our state's Constitution."

Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita also released a statement saying, "I am fully confident that when the justices of the Indiana Supreme Court review the merits of our exemplary law they, like their counterparts on the U.S. Supreme Court, will allow the law to stand."

Oral arguments haven't been set but will be scheduled by a further order, according to the transfer.

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  1. The $320,000 is the amount the school spent in litigating two lawsuits: One to release the report involving John Trimble (as noted in the story above) and one defending the discrimination lawsuit. The story above does not mention the amount spent to defend the discrimination suit, that's why the numbers don't match. Thanks for reading.

  2. $160k? Yesterday the figure was $320k. Which is it Indiana Lawyer. And even more interesting, which well connected law firm got the (I am guessing) $320k, six time was the fired chancellor received. LOL. (From yesterday's story, which I guess we were expected to forget overnight ... "According to records obtained by the Journal & Courier, Purdue spent $161,812, beginning in July 2012, in a state open records lawsuit and $168,312, beginning in April 2013, for defense in a federal lawsuit. Much of those fees were spent battling court orders to release an independent investigation by attorney John Trimble that found Purdue could have handled the forced retirement better")

  3. The numbers are harsh; 66 - 24 in the House, 40 - 10 in the Senate. And it is an idea pushed by the Democrats. Dead end? Ummm not necessarily. Just need to go big rather than go home. Nuclear option. Give it to the federal courts, the federal courts will ram this down our throats. Like that other invented right of the modern age, feticide. Rights too precious to be held up by 2000 years of civilization hang in the balance. Onward!

  4. I'm currently seeing someone who has a charge of child pornography possession, he didn't know he had it because it was attached to a music video file he downloaded when he was 19/20 yrs old and fought it for years until he couldn't handle it and plead guilty of possession. He's been convicted in Illinois and now lives in Indiana. Wouldn't it be better to give them a chance to prove to the community and their families that they pose no threat? He's so young and now because he was being a kid and downloaded music at a younger age, he has to pay for it the rest of his life? It's unfair, he can't live a normal life, and has to live in fear of what people can say and do to him because of something that happened 10 years ago? No one deserves that, and no one deserves to be labeled for one mistake, he got labeled even though there was no intent to obtain and use the said content. It makes me so sad to see someone I love go through this and it makes me holds me back a lot because I don't know how people around me will accept him...second chances should be given to those under the age of 21 at least so they can be given a chance to live a normal life as a productive member of society.

  5. It's just an ill considered remark. The Sup Ct is inherently political, as it is a core part of government, and Marbury V Madison guaranteed that it would become ever more so Supremely thus. So her remark is meaningless and she just should have not made it.... what she could have said is that Congress is a bunch of lazys and cowards who wont do their jobs so the hard work of making laws clear, oftentimes stops with the Sups sorting things out that could have been resolved by more competent legislation. That would have been a more worthwhile remark and maybe would have had some relevance to what voters do, since voters cant affect who gets appointed to the supremely un-democratic art III courts.

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