An Open Letter to Indiana’s Secretary of State

Indiana SOS Lawson

[Note: A few minutes ago, we sent an email to Indiana’s Secretary of State, Connie Lawson, over some concerns we have in the Hoosier State. Given the time-critical nature of this matter, we are taking the extraordinary measure of cc-copying our email to this website and vow to update this page with her agency’s response. Corrections to the original post: first, deep apologies for misspelling Hoosiers! Second. our reference to the Indianapolis Election Board should have been to the Marion County Election board.]

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Thu 8/1/2019 7:03 PM

To: ‘constituent@sos.IN.gov’

Dear Secretary Lawson,

We were recently notified of the problems an Independent mayoral candidate is having with the getting signatures approved by the Indianapolis Election Board. Upon further review, we request clarification from your office.

We’ve posted two reports on the situation on July 23 and July 30, so rather than repeating everything, we will propose a set of facts and ask a few questions:

  1. Indiana law (§ 3-8-6-6) requires nomination petitions to provide, “the residence address of each petitioner as set forth on the petitioner’s voter registration record.”
  2. Indiana law (§ 3-8-6-8) also requires, “For a petition of nomination to be considered valid by the officer required to receive the petition, the county voter registration office in the county where the petitioner is registered must certify that each petitioner is a voter at the residence address listed in the petition at the time the petition is being processed.”
  3. The address block on the petition (State Form 49024) requires signatories to report their “residence address.”
  4. In compliance with both the petition and Indiana law (§ 3-8-6-8), people signing the petitions must report the truth and are not allowed to lie by using an address at which they do not currently reside.
  5. The Marion County Board rejected 1,115 signatures because the address the signatories listed on the form did not match the address listed in the Board’s records.
  6. At this weeks’ appeals hearing on the matter, the Board admitted the 1,115 signatures were valid signatures, representing lawfully registered voters in Marion County.
  7. Our (limited) understanding of Indiana law is that people who present to vote and have a similar address mismatch, election officials try to correct the problem on the spot and provide an applicable ballot to the voter.
  8. List-maintenance requirements in most states require the Board to mail out some sort of address-verification letter or postcard that also provides the voter’s new precinct information, whenever a voter reports a new residence.
  9. By any voter’s newly reported address information, they are also notifying the Board that they are not eligible to vote from their previous address.
  10. 1973gg-6 of NVRA (52 U.S.C.§§ 2050120511) requires State election officials to “conduct a general program that makes a reasonable effort to remove the names of ineligible voters from the official lists of eligible voters by reason of . . . (B) a change in the residence of the registrant.”
  11. As a general rule, election employees are required to act in a way that favors the voter.

Here are my questions:

  • Q1) Can we all agree on the above assertions?
  • Q2) Just as in the voting condition described above, why wouldn’t the voter’s updated information on the Petition trigger a verification mailing?
  • Q3) In the spirit of both §3-8-6 -6 and §3-8-6 -8, why shouldn’t election officials confirm the voter’s new residency in a manner consistent with any other manner the voter reports their new address?
  • Q4) Since the voter-provided address information is signed and written on an official state election form, under what circumstances would the voter still be eligible to vote from their previous address?
  • Q5) By their refusal to act on the address information reported by the voter, how can the Marion County Election Board remain in compliance with the “reasonable effort” required under Sec. 1973gg-6 of NVRA (52 U.S.C. §§ 2050120511)?
  • Q6) More to the point . . . when a voter reports an address that no longer matches the address listed in your registration records, who owns the problem? Is it the candidate? Is it the voter? Or is it You?


Jay N. DeLancy, LtCol, USAF (Ret)
Director, Voter Integrity Project of NC
(Office) 919.429.9039
Twitter: @VoteChecker