People For the American Way

Indiana Court Declares State’s Voter ID Law Unconstitutional

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 17, 2009

Contact: Stacey Gates or Drew Courtney at People For the American Way

Email: [email protected]

Phone Number: 202-467-4999

Following the Indiana Court of Appeals unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel that the state’s voter ID law is unconstitutional, People For the American Way Director of Public Policy Tanya Clay House released the following statement:

It’s been a long time coming, but this is exciting news for Indiana voters and all of us concerned with protecting the right to vote of all Americans. Indiana’s voter identification law was the most stringent in the country, and the Indiana Court of Appeals’ decision to strike it down is correct. The court rightfully recognized the need to ensure voter security for all Indiana voters by reexamining the voter identification law, which would disproportionately harm minorities, the poor and the elderly.

From the moment this legislation was passed, we recognized that it was faulty in its reasoning and it could prevent many eligible Indiana voters from being able to cast a ballot. Today, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that eligible Indiana voters could be wrongfully disenfranchised by the law. As we have said before, voter ID laws are a modern-day poll tax and represent the same breed of voter disenfranchisement that plagued the Jim Crow era. I applaud the Court of Appeals for today’s decision, and for taking a stand for Indiana voters.

While we are pleased with the ultimate result in Indiana, thousands of voters were still detrimentally affected in the recent Presidential Election by such unnecessarily restrictive laws. During the 2008 primaries, for instance, 12 Indiana nuns were turned away from a polling place because they didn’t have state or federal identification with a photograph. We must continue to enact more inclusive measures to protect all voters from voter intimidation and disenfranchisement.