In Indiana, an investigation into alleged voter registration fraud intensified rapidly Tuesday when state police reportedly raided the Indianapolis office of a voter registration group and confiscated computers, personal cell phones and paperwork, according to a report from the Intercept. The Intercept reported that workers at the site told them that state police stopped one person from recording the incident and that the group’s lawyer said he was unable to enter the building. State police are investigating the Indiana Voter Registration Project’s efforts in nine counties after claims that the group fraudulently registered voters, according to the Indianapolis Star. Indiana’s Secretary of State Connie Lawson, who was a key sponsor of Indiana’s 2005 voter ID law that went all the way to the Supreme Court where it was upheld– announced the investigation in September.
According to the Intercept, Lawson alleged that “nefarious actors are operating here in Indiana.” The Intercept also wrote that Lawson had cited 10 individual voter registration forms as fraudulent. But, according to the Intercept, the state of Indiana doesn’t allow voter registration forms – even those the group conducting the voter registration drive worries may be inaccurate– to be discarded without being looked over by the state.
Patriot Majority is the D.C.-based group managing the voter registration drive in Indiana. Its leader, Craig Varoga, told the Intercept that it is not unusual that they would turn in questionable forms and flag them to election officials. What is unusual, election law experts says, is for police to raid a voter registration office, and the proximity of the raid to the election, seemed troubling.
Daniel Tokaji, an elections law professor at Ohio State University, said he was worried that such a raid – if it happened in the manner described in news reports– could have a chilling effect on other voter registration drives across the country just a month ahead of the election. “My concern is it is going to intimidate people who are registering people to vote,” Tokaji said.