INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana House Republicans passed House Bill 1264 through the Elections and Apportionment Committee on Wednesday morning — a bill which runs Hoosiers’ voter data through private databases like credit reporting agencies and targets civic engagement organizations and transient voters, including military families and the unhoused.
Currently, first-time registrants who register to vote by mail must provide proof of residency before or when casting their absentee ballot or on Election Day. Under this proposal, applicants who had their registration hand-delivered — a common method used by the League of Women Voters and other civic organizations — will now be placed in an indefinite “pending” status until they have provided their proof of residency to the county voter registration or clerk’s office before their name will appear on any poll list. This means this group of first time voters will not be eligible for an absentee ballot until their registration becomes active or on Election Day if they take extra steps to provide proof of residency to cast a regular ballot.
In addition, private credit reporting agencies such as Experian would be entrusted with the voter data of every Hoosier — and people can be removed from the voter rolls because of the address they have on file.
“Today is a sad day for Hoosier voters. Republicans talk about election security, but want to hand your voter data over to private companies to sell and plunder,” said Indiana Democratic Party Chair Mike Schmuhl. “In addition, students, renters, military families, and many other Hoosiers who don’t always stay in one place or whose private data may be wrong, will have their registrations in jeopardy despite the fact that they have done nothing wrong.
“Civic organizations like the League of Women Voters, school corporations, and libraries take great pride in registering Hoosiers to vote, many for the first time. This bill is a slap in the face to them, and their hard work to get Hoosiers — many of whom have just turned 18 — engaged and excited about taking part in our democracy.”
Counties would also rely on BMV data to make citizenship determination, even though the bi-partisan Indiana Election Division already cautions registration officials from using BMV temporary lawful status data because it is often outdated, and just a point-in-time reference that is not updated with any regularity.
The bill’s citizenship requirements simply rely on often faulty private data, and a similar provision in an Arizona election law has been temporarily blocked by a federal district court.