With the recent felony conviction of then-Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White (R), the task fell upon Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) to select a replacement for the chief elections officer of his state. Friday, he announced his pick: state Senator Connie Lawson. Lawson, who served in the state senate since 1996 and as clerk of the Hendricks County Circuit Court for seven years before that, was one of the two original authors of Senate Bill 483. That law, enacted in 2005 and upheld by a divided U.S. Supreme Court in 2008, was among the nation’s first laws mandating strict photo identification requirements for voters. Lawson’s concern about election integrity was also evident in another key vote — in 2010, she voted against the bill that made it legal for alcohol to be sold on election day in Indiana.
Along with Georgia, Indiana’s voter ID rules were the strictest in the nation until 2011 — making it significantly more difficult for voters without valid driver’s licenses to exercise their constitutional right to vote. Since the 2010 elections, Republican legislatures around the country, pushed by their allies at the right-wing corporate front group American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), have been passing similar laws in an organized “war on voting.” These measures, of course, disproportionately disenfranchise minority voters who are less likely to have valid photo identification — and, probably not coincidentally, are most likely to vote for Democratic candidates. Daniels himself signed Lawson’s bill into law; her co-author said at the time that it was needed to guard against voter fraud.