December 10, 2007

DOJ Files Amicus Brief Supporting State of Indiana in Voter ID Case

This is disappointing, but not entirely unexpected. I think this decision will prove controversial given the position the DOJ has taken in pushing the line in recent years that there is a great deal of voter fraud---and the apparent firing of some U.S. attorneys (in New Mexico and Seattle in particular) on grounds that they did not pursue voter fraud allegations more forcefully.

Via email came this statement from Wendy Weiser of the Brennan Center:

    "The Department of Justice is taking an extreme legal position, which, if accepted, would mean that there could be virtually no challenges to laws suppressing the vote before an election. Their position is that you can almost never bring a constitutional challenge to a voting law before it causes harm. This means that any law meant to suppress the vote would have already accomplished its goal of disenfranchising voters before it could be challenged in Court. Their position, taken to its logical extent, would allow jurisdictions to suppress the votes of tens of thousands of voters before a single aggrieved voter could get their day in Court."

    "The state of Indiana has the most stringent voter ID law in the country. The facts make clear that Indiana's law -- rather than preventing fraud -- is actually disenfranchising substantial numbers of voters, especially minority and low-income voters, students and seniors. The Bush administration's brief stretches both the law and the facts to create an inaccurate and skewed picture of the effects of Indiana's voter identification law."

    "It is disappointing to see our government institutions formed for the purpose of protecting voters coming down on the side of vote suppression."

[Disclosure: I filed an amicus brief supporting petitioners in this case.]

Posted by Rick Hasen at December 10, 2007 04:34 PM