Indiana officials settle voter registration lawsuit

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Indiana officials have settled a class-action lawsuit that claimed the state wasn't following federal laws over the opportunity for voter registration at public assistance offices.

The settlement approved by a federal judge on Thursday requires that state public assistance agencies offer voter registration to those who apply or update their requests for welfare, food stamps and other benefits.

The Indiana State Conference of the NAACP and other groups filed the lawsuit in 2009, arguing that the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration had not been adhering to the National Voter Registration Act.

Indiana NAACP President Barbara Bolling of Gary said she was pleased state officials had agreed to the settlement terms.

"This is an important step forward to ensuring that all Indiana residents have the opportunity to register to vote and participate in elections in our state," she said.

The state agency has already started implementing the settlement, and the number of people submitting registration applications through public assistance offices in recent months has increased substantially, The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne.

About 4,800 registration applications are now being submitted each month through those offices, up from about 100 a month before the lawsuit was filed, according to state officials.

"We were already doing it," FSSA spokesman Neal Moore said. "We augmented and made some improvements to the process."

Those include a new manual for employees fully explaining the guidelines, additional training and updating necessary forms.

In the past several years, lawsuits filed by the same voting rights groups have forced other states that had been disregarding the National Voter Registration Act to comply, with sometimes dramatic results.

For example, applications from Missouri public assistance agencies grew from fewer than 8,000 a year to more than 130,000 a year following settlement of a suit in that state two years ago. Almost 290,000 low-income Ohio residents have applied to register since a similar case was settled there at the end of 2009.


  • Disappointing
    jindy - I couldn't agree more.

    Practically forcing those who otherwise wouldn't be involved in the political process to become involved and vote, to deliver an obvious outcome...just seems wrong. I'm quite disapointed. If someone wants to participate, I'm all for it, but this seems little more than a ploy to buy liberal votes with my money.
  • Voter Registration????
    How patently obvious..

    You want some more of this???

    Register and vote democrat.

    Self perpetuating dependence on government handouts......

Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. what Steve is doing and if he is on another radio station. That is the station I will listen to.

  2. From the story: "The city of Indianapolis also will consider tax incentives and funding for infrastructure required for the project, according to IEDC." Why would the City need to consider additional tax incentives when Lowe's has already bought the land and reached an agreement with IEDC to bring the jobs? What that tells me is that the City has already pledged the incentives, unofficially, and they just haven't had time to push it through the MDC yet. Either way, subsidizing $10/hour jobs is going to do nothing toward furthering the Mayor's stated goal of attracting middle and upper-middle class residents to Marion County.

  3. Ron Spencer and the entire staff of Theater on the Square embraced IndyFringe when it came to Mass Ave in 2005. TOTS was not only a venue but Ron and his friends created, presented and appeared in shows which embraced the 'spirit of the fringe'. He's weathered all the storms and kept smiling ... bon voyage and thank you.

  4. Not sure how many sushi restaurants are enough, but there are three that I know of in various parts of downtown proper and all are pretty good.

  5. Rick, how does granting theright to marry to people choosing to marry same-sex partners harm the lives of those who choose not to? I cannot for the life of me see any harm to people who choose not to marry someone of the same sex. We understand your choice to take the parts of the bible literally in your life. That is fine but why force your religious beliefs on others? I'm hoping the judges do the right thing and declare the ban unconstitutional so all citizens of Wisconsin and Indiana have the same marriage rights and that those who chose someone of the same sex do not have less rights than others.