“When all is said and done, when this partisan investigation finds no wrongdoing,” Craig Varoga, president of Indiana Voter Registration Project told Raw Story, “Connie Lawson and the Indiana State Police will have prevented 45,000 African Americans from voting in this year’s elections.”
Connie Lawson, Indiana’s Republican Secretary of State under Governor and Trump VP candidate Mike Pence, is no stranger to allegations of disenfranchising voters. Lawson is a proponent of strict voter ID laws, such as those in Texas and other Red states which have been directly linked to minority voter disenfranchisement. it is a policy she shares with Pence. Mister Pence supports running mate Donald Trump’s baseless accusations of voter fraud by democrats. Trump has advocated for his supporters to monitor polling places. “Go down to certain areas and watch and study make sure other people don’t come in and vote five times,” Trump urged. How exactly that would play out is a cause for concern.
While Indiana traditionally moves strongly for Republican candidates in presidential elections, there has been a strong effort to register new voters. Indiana’s population is roughly 85% white, with a strong demographic leaning towards Trump. Just 23% of Indianans have a Bachelors Degree or higher, a demographic Trump has framed as elitists as he stokes white, less educated voters. Indiana’s economy is predominantly service industry and manufacturing. The median household income is almost 10% below the national average. 40% of the state is over 40 years of age, and that constituency is predominantly white and Republican. Minority populations and young people threaten Indiana’s current Republican dominance.
Just 9% of Indianans are Black. 6% are Latino. While Trump is still favored in Indiana, there are indications that support is slipping, making the Black and Latino communities, overwhelmingly supporting Clinton a larger variable to Republicans locking in the vote there. In August the Ipsos/Reuters poll had Trump up against Mrs. Clinton 53-33. last week that lead had slipped notably in every major poll. UPI/CVOTER put that number at 55-41. The state went nominally to Romney over Obama in 2012, but turned out for Obama strongly in 2008.
In the current investigation, Indiana authorities only reacted after complaints were made to the justice department. A candidate running locally for Sherriff as a republican was part of the subsequent investigation, despite that the allegations indicate Republicans are behind the voter fraud. the candidate/Trooper’s relationship to those under investigation is still not known. What is known, quite conveniently for Trump/Pence, is that state officials openly admit that this will keep tens of thousands, almost exclusively minority voters from the polls in November as the investigation drags on. Varoga says that the investigation means that thousands of minority voters will not be able to register before the October 11 deadline.
Investigative reporter Greg Palast uncovered voter suppression efforts targeting mostly minorities in 27 states going into the 2012 election. Almost all of them involved Republicans affecting millions of minority and young voters in an effort to swing the election. In 2014 Republican operative Sharon Meroni in Illinois was allegedly behind robo-calls that kept tens of thousands of African American voters away from polls. Speaking on conditions of anonymity, an Illinois state election official admitted that powerful forces seemed to be behind keeping Meroni and others from being prosecuted.