PILF Intervention Defends Indiana’s Use of Voter Roll Crosscheck

Published On: November 09th, 2017

(INDIANAPOLIS, IN) – November 9, 2017: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) filed a motion to intervene in defense of Indiana’s participation in the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck program designed to remove outdated and relocated voter records.

The PILF seeks to intervene in the ongoing case against Indiana’s participation in the Crosscheck program. PILF argues the plaintiff’s misleading claims are wrong that the State hastily removes voters after individuals with matching names and birthdates are found registered in other states.

The PILF also shared its concerns that the plaintiff is incorrectly seeking to handcuff voter registrars from maintaining records. The Motion to Intervene, filed today, notes:

The plaintiff’s lawsuit profoundly threatens state control over structuring its own election system based on a patently flawed application of the National Voter Registration Act (“NVRA”). [It] seeks to impose restrictions on Indiana’s ability to conduct fair and robust elections by limiting the State’s programs for ensuring that its list of eligible voters is kept accurate and current. Plaintiff seeks to impose limits clearly beyond what was contemplated by Congress.

If the Plaintiff had its way, Indiana would be bound by an imaginary rule for cleaning voter rolls using technology and practices from the 1980s,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Our state is still working through the effects of poor list maintenance efforts dating back more than a decade ago when the U.S. Justice Department took action against the state for dirty voter rolls. The Plaintiff is so determined to preserve flaws in our voter records that it would sever lines of communication with other states to accomplish their goal.

Though the PILF seeks to act as a Defendant-Intervenor in the case, the Foundation will make various arguments that it believes would not otherwise be made by the State of Indiana. Four primary defenses were introduced today.

The entire case is based on a faulty legal theory

Plaintiff’s interpretation of the NVRA argues that Indiana can do no more than mail notices to voters and wait for replies. Federal law offers this as an explicit example of a permissible voter list maintenance procedure, but it does not limit Indiana from cooperating with other states to more efficiently identify voters relocating out of its jurisdiction. 

Federal law allows states to remove registrants that relocate and re-register

After a citizen relocates to another state and registers to vote there, her action and the related paper trail constitutes a “written document” demonstrating she has changed residences for voting purposes and justifies removal from her old state’s registry. 

Congress considered registering to vote elsewhere as an act of requesting removal from the voter roll

The NVRA’s legislative history accounts for how a voter’s relocation and re-registration outside of Indiana effectively serves as an example for justified removal from the registry “at the request of the registrant”.

Common Cause Indiana’s Complaint should be dismissed

The Plaintiff’s misreading of the aforementioned notice-and-waiting procedure as the exclusively accepted method for voter roll maintenance—as opposed to a permissible option—presents a claim by which the Court could not offer relief since Indiana is not violating federal law with the Crosscheck.

The Motion to Intervene as Defendant and Proposed Answer by Defendant-Intervenor PILF filings can be found, here.

Attorneys for the Public Interest Legal Foundation are J. Christian Adams, Kaylan L. Phillips, and Joseph A. Vanderhulst.

Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) is a 501(c)(3) public interest law firm dedicated to election integrity. The Foundation exists to assist states and others to aid the cause of election integrity and fight against lawlessness in American elections. Drawing on numerous experts in the field, PILF seeks to protect the right to vote and preserve the Constitutional framework of American elections.


Public Interest Legal Foundation