Republican Governor Mike Pence Is Using Your Tax Dollars to Harass and Suppress Votes
On Tuesday, October 4, 2016, Indian State Troopers raided and shut down the largest voter-registration program in the state. The registrations targeted for suppression by Governor Pence’s state police are overwhelmingly African Americans.
The registration program had successfully collected 45,000 voter-registration applications. This program, called the Indiana Voter Registration Program, provided gainful and honest employment to dozens of Hoosiers who were helping members of their communities register to vote, so that they could take part in this November’s election for President, Senate, Governor and other offices.
The State Police, operating with the full authority of Governor Pence, violated numerous legal standards and Constitutional protections, including (but not limited to) the rights of registration workers to legal representation when they were detained by police. State Police prohibited employees from videotaping their unlawful raid. State Police also targeted on African American male for harassment, put him in handcuffs and denied him his rights to an attorney.
All five of the individuals leading this voter-suppression campaign are either Pence appointees, Pence allies or active Republicans. The use of police intimidation to prevent minority voters from taking part in this November’s elections are currently unprecedented in the United States.
- CONNIE LAWSON, Republican Secretary of State, is the author of Indiana’s notorious voter-ID law and long-time leader of the partisan effort to deny tens-of-thousands of law-abiding Hoosiers their right to vote. Lawson was the state’s chief elections officer in 2014, when Indiana had the lowest voter turnout in the nation and its own worst turnout in 60 years. Lawson has refused to release public records relating to political role in targeting registration of African Americans in her state.
- DOUGLAS G. CARTER, the State Police Superintendent, was sworn in on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, after being “chosen for the position by new Indiana Gov. Mike Pence,” according to an ISP news release. Carter votes in Republican primaries.
- WILLIAM STONEY VANN, an “investigator” and state police sergeant, is a declared Republican candidate for local sheriff. Vann has actively harassed African American canvassers engaged in nonpartisan voter registration. Vann is a Facebook friend of Republican Connie Lawson, one of the Republican leaders behind the police suppression of African American voters. Vann votes in Republican primaries.
- JEFFREY C. HEARON, another “investigator” and Republican primary voter, lives in Danville, Hendricks County, Indiana, the same small town where Republican Connie Lawson lives. Danville has a population of only 9,000.
- DAVID R. BURSTEN, a State Police spokesperson, is a Republican primary voter and Pence supporter, who has been the public face of this week’s partisan and unlawful raid designed to make it harder for African Americans to vote. Bursten has donated on at least 11 different occasions to Mike Pence’s political campaigns.
Attorneys for the Indiana Voter Registration Project (the “Project”), a non-partisan program run by Patriot Majority USA, have formally requested that the Voting Section of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division initiate an investigation into efforts by public officials of the State of Indiana to suppress tens of thousands of African American votes.