Tippecanoe County Election Administrator Violating Voter Registration Law; Voter Advocates File Complaint With Indiana Election Division

INDIANAPOLIS — Today, Common Cause Indiana and the League of Women Voters of Greater Lafayette (LWVGL) filed an administrative complaint with the co-directors of the Indiana Election Division (IED) to notify them of ongoing violations of voter registration laws by the Tippecanoe County Board of Elections and Registration. The complaint asks the co-directors to address these ongoing violations by requiring Tippecanoe County election officials to comply with the Indiana voter registration statute.

Previously, members of the League of Women Voters of Greater Lafayette became aware that the Tippecanoe County Clerk, Julie Roush, has advised her staff to require first-time registrants whose paper voter registration form is hand-delivered on their behalf to produce additional proof of residency documentation. This requirement is a violation of state and federal voter registration laws, which requires the additional residency documentation ONLY when a voter registration form is delivered by the United States Postal Service.

Earlier this year, advocates from the LWVGL notified the Indiana Election Division of the actions taken by the Tippecanoe County Board of Elections and Registration and asked that the IED communicate with county officials to inform them they are operating outside the parameters of the law. Despite written communication from both the Republican and Democrat co-directors of the IED that their additional requirements violate the law, Tippecanoe County continues this practice.

The complaint asks the IED take all necessary steps to ensure that election administrators in Tippecanoe County come into compliance with state and federal voter registration laws. The complaint also requests that the IED review all registrations entered by Tippecanoe County since Jan. 1, 2018, to identify any wrongfully flagged as requiring more residency documentation and approve these applications as final and complete.

Ken Jones, Chair of the LWVGL Voter Services Committee said, “The League of Women Voters of Greater Lafayette works hard to register voters and encourage civic participation in our community.  We have a long tradition of outreach at high schools and area colleges to register first-time voters. Our efforts are being undermined by county election officials, who are requiring new voters to jump through additional hoops before their votes will be counted. This is unnecessary and unlawful, and our complaint seeks to bring it to an end, since county officials aren’t willing to take the state’s directives.”

Julia Vaughn, Executive Director of Common Cause Indiana said, “Common Cause Indiana appreciates the League of Women Voters of Greater Lafayette bringing this matter to our attention and for standing up for voters in Tippecanoe County. We joined this complaint because it is critically important that every county in Indiana implement our voting laws consistently and by the book. It’s already harder to vote in Indiana than in most other states. Erecting additional administrative barriers to the ballot box cannot be allowed and we hope that the action we are taking today will force Tippecanoe County to come into compliance with the law and send notice to other counties that violations won’t be tolerated.”

A copy of the complaint can be found here.