A progressive advocacy group is launching an advertising campaign accusing Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who also is the Republican vice-presidential nominee, of allowing voter suppression after state police raided the offices of a voter registration program aimed at signing up African Americans. Patriot Majority USA will place the ads on black-oriented radio stations and in print and online with black newspapers throughout the state starting Saturday, said the group’s director, Craig Varoga. Patriot Majority is affiliated with the Senate Majority PAC, a super PAC that supports Democratic candidates. On Oct. 4, one week before the state’s deadline to register to vote, state police raided the Indianapolis office of the Indiana Voter Registration Project, seizing computers, cellphones and records. The state police launched an investigation in late August after elections officials in Hendricks County, a suburb of Indianapolis, alerted authorities to some applications that seemed amiss. A spokesman for the state police told local news media that “at least 10” applications were confirmed to be fraudulent.
Varoga estimates that 45,000 people, most of them African Americans, might not be able to vote on Nov. 8 if investigators put a hold on applications collected by the group during its investigation. The group has asked the Justice Department to investigate, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, an advocate for voting rights, sent a letter to Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson asking her to take steps to ensure that eligible voters who signed up through the voter registration drive will not be disenfranchised.
… Patriot Majority’s one-minute radio ad opens with a wailing siren and a male announcer referencing the raid: “Indiana state police recently shut down our state’s largest voter registration program. This police raid was under the leadership of Republican Governor Mike Pence. Now 45,000 citizens, almost all African Americans, could lose the right to vote.”
The ad also includes voices of some of the workers at the office. “They singled out one African American male, put him in handcuffs,” one woman says. “They lined us up against the wall, treated us like criminals,” another woman says.