Earlier this month, just ahead of Indiana’s voter registration deadline, state police executed a search warrant at the office of an organization that had set out to register black voters in a state with the worst voter turnout in the country. Officers conducted their search on the Indiana Voter Registration Project’s headquarters just a few weeks after Republican Secretary of State Connie Lawson sent a letter to state election officials warning that “nefarious actors are operating” in the Hoosier state and asking them to inform authorities if they received any voter registration forms from the group. The letter from Lawson ― who, when she was a state legislator, co-sponsored Indiana’s controversial voter ID law ― amounted to “the voter suppression equivalent of an Amber alert,” said Craig Varoga, the president of Patriot Majority USA, a liberal nonprofit group that ran the Indiana Voter Registration Project. The publicity surrounding the actions taken by Lawson and Indiana’s state police have cast a shadow over the nonprofits, with many stories accusing them of voter fraud.
Varoga said the Oct. 4 police action prevented the group from registering 5,000 to 10,000 additional voters ahead of Indiana’s Oct. 11 voter registration deadline. He’s worried that clerks won’t count some of the 45,000 applications the group had already collected.
So why did state officials take such a dramatic step in interrupting the IVRP’s work just days ahead of the voter registration deadline?
From what we’ve gathered, it’s not because there’s any mass “voter fraud” scheme to steal an election. Instead, it seems the extraordinary investigation is likely to find no more than potential technical violations of obscure regulations for third-party voter registration groups.