Bill Buck, Patriot Majority USA Published: 11 October 2016
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – Today is the last day to register to vote in Indiana. It is also seven days since Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s State Police raided the largest voter-registration program in the state. The registrations targeted for suppression by Pence’s state police are overwhelmingly African Americans.
In its raid, the Indiana State Police shut down a voter-registration program that was helping to register tens-of-thousands of law-abiding African Americans in Indiana. Registration of African Americans is opposed by many Indiana Republican leaders because they believe that these Hoosiers will not support GOP candidates.
The State Police, in addition to crippling this program in the final week of Indiana’s registration period, violated numerous legal standards and Constitutional protections, including (but not limited to) the rights of registration workers to legal representation when they were detained by police.
All five of the individuals leading this voter-suppression campaign are either Pence appointees, Pence allies or active Republicans. The use of police force and intimidation to rig the 2016 elections and prevent minority voters from taking part in this November’s elections are currently unprecedented in the United States.
- Republican Secretary of State Connie Lawson, the author of Indiana’s notorious voter-ID law and long-time leader of the partisan effort to deny tens-of-thousands of law-abiding Hoosiers their right to vote. Lawson was the state’s chief elections officer in 2014, when Indiana had the lowest voter turnout in the nation and its own worst turnout in 60 years. Lawson has also refused to release public records relating to political role in targeting registration of African Americans in her state.
- State Police Superintendent, Douglas G. Carter, who was sworn in on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, after being “chosen for the position by new Indiana Gov. Mike Pence,” according to an ISP news release (http://whatsnewlaporte.com/2013/01/14/laporte-native-douglas-carter-takes-helm-as-indiana-state-police-superintendent/). Carter is a registered Republican who votes in Republican primaries.
- “Investigator” William Stoney Vann, a state police sergeant and Republican candidate for local sheriff, who has actively harassed African American canvassers engaged in the group’s nonpartisan voter drive. Vann is also a Facebook friend of Republican Connie Lawson, one of the party leaders behind the police suppression of African American voters. Vann votes in Republican primaries.
- “Investigator” Jeffrey C Hearon, a registered Republican who lives in Danville, Hendricks County, Indiana, the same small town where Republican Lawson lives. Danville has a population of only 9,000. Hearon votes in Republican primaries.
- State Police spokesperson David R. Bursten, a registered Republican and Pence supporter, who has been the public face of this week’s partisan and unlawful raid designed to make it harder for African Americans to vote. Bursten is a repeat donor to Mike Pence’s political campaigns.
Attorneys for the Indiana Voter Registration Project (the “Project”), a non-partisan program run by Patriot Majority USA, have formally requested that the Voting Section of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division initiate an investigation into efforts by public officials of the State of Indiana to suppress tens of thousands of African American votes.