NewsPublic Affairs / August 8, 2018

Attorney General Hill Challenges New Early Voting Sites In Marion County

Julia Vaughn, policy director for Common Cause Indiana, says the lack of early voting access became a constitutional issue in Marion County, and violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965. - AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Julia Vaughn, policy director for Common Cause Indiana, says the lack of early voting access became a constitutional issue in Marion County, and violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Common Cause Indiana and two branches of the NAACP filed a federal lawsuit against the Marion County Election Board last summer. The group argued that the lack of early voting offices was a constitutional issue, since a trip to the single downtown location was unreasonable for many residents.

The lawsuit settled last month, and the board agreed to create five new satellite locations starting in November.

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill has requested that ruling be withdrawn in a motion filed Tuesday in federal court.

By law the creation of new early voting sites requires a unanimous vote from the Election Board, and in his motion Hill says that vote never happened. He says the board should not be bound by a court ruling that makes it violate state law.

Hill’s motion also defends that law, saying a unanimous vote requirement “protects both political parties by ensuring that bipartisan support is not lacking.”

In a statement, Common Cause Indiana calls the move a "partisan crusade."

The group also refutes the claim that the Election Board failed to reach a unanimous vote to create new voting centers, since it did so during the lawsuit settlement process.

Secretary of State Connie Lawson also released a statement opposing Hill's motion, calling it "reckless."

“I did not ask him to do this. He did not have the professional courtesy to provide me notice of his motion, even though I am named as a party in the suit. I support Marion County’s unanimous decision to adopt satellite voting. I urge Attorney General Hill to drop this," Lawson says.

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