You would have to prove you are a citizen of the United States to register to vote in Indiana, under a bill that is being considered by the state Senate. The ACLU of Indiana says it’s unconstitutional and wouldn’t hold up if it became law and they took it to court.
The bill would require you to bring a birth certificate, a passport, a Certificate of Naturalization, a Certificate of Citizenship, or proof of birth overseas, when you register.
“All of these documents that have been listed, like a passport and a birth certificate, they cost money. So, that is creating a slippery slope toward a poll tax,” said Katie Blair, the director of public policy and advocacy for the ACLU of Indiana.
A birth certificate costs around $20, and a passport costs around $100.
She said that not only would the cost be prohibitive, but the delay in getting those kinds of documents could also get in the way of voting for a legit voter.
“Those documents take a long time to process, especially during COVID. So, the financial cost and time spent obtaining these documents can be prohibitive for many Americans.”
While the law, written initially by state Sen. Erin Houchin (R-Salem), may have been intended to protect election integrity by making sure only people who can vote actually vote, Blair said there’s no evidence that non-citizens are voting in large numbers.
The ACLU has successfully challenged similar laws in Arizona and Kansas, she said, adding that the ACLU’s positive is that such laws are in direct violation of the National Voter Registration Act.
Blair said millions of people don’t have the required documents. The proposed Indiana law could disenfranchise elderly people, people of color born in an era of official discrimination and American Indians born on reservations and not in hospitals, among others who do not have, or who can’t get the documents, but who are citizens.