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 practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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