If you're an Indiana voter, you may have been purged... and this website will help you find out

Journalist Greg Palast spoke with Salon about the major voter purge that occurred in Indiana using shady methods

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published October 14, 2018 1:15PM (EDT)

 (Getty/Paul J. Richards)
(Getty/Paul J. Richards)

If you're an Indiana voter, you may have been removed from the voting rolls of your state and don't even know it. In order to find out whether you were stripped of your constitutional right to vote, there is a website you can check out here

"You put in your first name and last name, we send you back your full address. If that's you, you go right to the Indiana Secretary of State's office by — I hope you can register online, I believe you can — and reregister online. You have today to do it. That's it," Greg Palast, a reporter for prestigious outlets ranging from Rolling Stone and The Guardian to BBC Newsnight, told Salon.

So what happened? Apparently, Palast's reporting unearthed the fact that 469,000 voters in Indiana had been removed from the voting rolls — and at least 20,000 of them lost their right to vote because a court order was blatantly violated.

"Now 27,000 names were removed using Kris Kobach's crosscheck list which is supposed to, according to Kobach and I interviewed Kobach himself on this, Kobach told me was sent to Indiana to identify people who have moved out of state," Palast told Salon. "We actually checked with the post office, we have a contract with the post office, and they confirmed that only 7,000 of the 27,000 removed have actually moved — and not necessarily out of the state either. Just moved from their voting addressed."

He added, "So we have 27,000 voters illegally removed, from our evidence."

The problem here isn't only that Kobach, who currently serves as Kansas' secretary of state, is a blatantly partisan opponent of voters' rights who frequently targets racial minorities in order to purge them from the rolls and thereby help Republican candidates. As Palast explained, a federal court order in June 2018 ordered the State of Indiana to stop following a law it had passed the previous year instructing officials to use Kobach's interstate crosscheck list to strip people of their voting rights.

"The League of Women Voters and the NAACP sued the State of Indiana for using Kris Kobach's crosscheck list. In particular they enjoined a law that said that voters would be removed if they were on the crosscheck list," Palast explained. "The NAACP and League of Women Voters specifically used as evidence my investigation for Rolling Stone Magazine and my expert Mark Swedlund's finding that the list was almost completely erroneous in terms of identifying people who had moved out of the state. That's one, and second: It was highly racially biased. Basically it was a racist purge list sent to Indiana by Kobach. The law, the 2017 law, required county officials to remove the voters if they were on the Kobach crosscheck list, and the court said you can't do that."

He added, "If someone is on a crosscheck list they get a postcard, and if they don't return the postcard — which looks like junk mail — they lose their vote." As Palast noted, this was racist because of the specific demographics pertaining to which racial and economic groups are more likely to receive and return those types of postcards.

"An attorney for the Indiana elections division, and speaking to Rachel Garbus, who is working for Mirer, Mazzocchi & Julien, our lead counsel out of New York, said, 'I'm just speculating, but it is possible that some counties used the 2017 legislation so were cancelling voters using that method.'"

When he was asked to clarify what he meant, the anonymous official said, "Yes, I'm not sure, but the county officials follow the law, so that's what the law said and it's possible that's what they were doing."

To be clear: Although at least 20,000 Indiana voters appear to have been removed from the rolls illegally, the number of Indiana voters who won't be able to vote is actually much, much higher.

"Through another threatened lawsuit, through another federal lawsuit aimed at the State of Indiana, we have received and analyzed 469,000 voters purged from the voter rolls of the state in the years of 2016 and 2017," Palast told Salon. He later added, "Going by what we found in Georgia, we would say that most of those removals were also illegitimate."

As Palast explained, "The vast majority of these people, this half million, are people who are identified as having moved. And they have no evidence that the people have moved other than that they didn't vote a couple times. And that's not good enough. It's as bad as the Georgia list except it has this additional item that we know at least 20,000 people were removed in violation of a federal court order."

Palast's reference to Georgia involves how he revealed that, due to the efforts of Secretary of State Brian Kemp (who is currently running for governor as a Republican), the state removed 1 in 10 of its registered voters in 2017.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2018 Midterm Elections Greg Palast Indiana Kris Kobach Voter Purge