Indiana to Implement New Procedures for Offering Voter Registration to Public Assistance Recipients in the State
U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt approved the settlement of a class action lawsuit brought against Indiana officials to bring the State into compliance with the National Voter Registration Act ("NVRA"). The settlement requires that Indiana implement specific measures to assure that thousands of low-income residents have the opportunity to register to vote at state public assistance offices, as mandated by the NVRA. The suit was brought by the Indiana State Conference of the NAACP on behalf of all state public assistance clients injured by the State's violation of federal law. Plaintiff and the class are represented by attorneys from the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Project Vote, Demos, the Chicago law firm of Miner, Barnhill & Galland, the NAACP, and the ACLU of Indiana.
The NVRA requires that state public assistance agencies offer voter registration to their clients when clients apply for benefits, and when they recertify or submit a change of address. The State already began implementation of the settlement prior to its approval by Judge Pratt, and the number of persons submitting registration applications through state public assistance offices in recent months has increased substantially. Monthly average registration applications are now approximately 4,800, compared to only about 100 prior to the filing of the lawsuit in July 2009.