Republican Secretary of State Connie Lawson told a committee of state lawmakers Wednesday that she doesn’t see a correlation between early voting access and voter turnout. The statement comes a few weeks after an IndyStar investigation found that state and local Republicans have expanded early voting in GOP-dominated areas and restricted it in Democratic areas. Common Cause Indiana, the Indiana State Conference of the NAACP and the local NAACP Branch, filed a lawsuit in May against the Marion County Election Board and Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, due to the scarcity of early voting locations in Marion County. In the lawsuit, the organization said the lack of early voting opportunities discriminates against African-American voters and violates the constitution.
… Democrats were quick to criticize Lawson’s statement, pointing to the higher voter turnout rate in Hamilton County than in Marion County. Hamilton County now has three early voting locations, while Marion only has one.
“Lawson is either overlooking the obvious or she’s providing cover for Republicans who continue to play politics with early voting,” said Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody. “If there’s no correlation, as Secretary Lawson suggests, why are places like Hamilton County expanding locations? Convenience.”
Overall voter turnout has increased by 20.9 percent in Hamilton County and decreased by 2.9 percent in Marion County since 2008 when local officials started expanding early voting locations in Hamilton County and reducing them in Marion County. Some of that growth in Hamilton County, however, could be attributed in part to population growth.