Judge orders Indiana county to open more early-voting sites

A federal judge hearing a case about alleged voter suppression has ordered county officials in central Indiana to open several locations for voters to cast early ballots for November's general election.

Posted: Jul 14, 2018 6:47 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge hearing a case about alleged voter suppression has ordered county officials in central Indiana to open several locations for voters to cast early ballots for November's general election.

Judge Sarah Evans Barker's ruling this week came after she issued an injunction three months ago ending what critics call an effort to suppress voting in Democratic-leaning Marion County, which includes Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported .

Barker ruled in April that the Marion County Election Board must establish at least two satellite voting sites for future elections. But she raised the number this week to a minimum of five satellite early voting locations.

The election board will have discretion to choose the locations and operating hours of the offices, according to this week's ruling.

Government watchdog group Common Cause Indiana and the NAACP sued the election board for effectively disenfranchising local voters. The county had as many as three satellite offices for early in-person voting in 2008-09, but the board removed the sites in subsequent elections "despite available funding," according to Barker's ruling this week.

Residents since 2009 could only cast early ballots in the County Clerk's Office at the City-County building, which Barker's ruling said has "little or no free parking" and can take hours to reach by public transportation.

The lack of satellite voting locations "disproportionately impacted African-American voters in Marion County, and that this disproportionate burden was, in part, caused by or linked to social and historical conditions that have or currently produce discrimination against African-American voters," the ruling stated.

The plaintiffs said the ruling is big win for voters in the community.

"Voter suppression efforts like this have no place in our county and we are proud to have been part of the effort to expand voting access," said Chrystal Ratcliffe, president of Indianapolis NAACP branch. "We'll be working hard in the coming months to ensure that all voters who want to cast an early in-person ballot understand that the City-County building is no longer the only option available."

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 771299

Reported Deaths: 14005
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1059471808
Lake570611031
Allen43193700
Hamilton37458426
St. Joseph37420568
Elkhart29819471
Tippecanoe23584231
Vanderburgh23431405
Porter19616327
Johnson18899394
Hendricks18168323
Clark13623199
Madison13604348
Vigo12908256
Monroe12626178
LaPorte12594225
Delaware11183198
Howard10747237
Kosciusko9810124
Hancock8799150
Bartholomew8296157
Warrick8150157
Floyd8072183
Grant7397181
Wayne7254201
Boone7236105
Morgan6948143
Marshall6358117
Dubois6301118
Cass6110112
Dearborn604078
Noble603590
Henry5971111
Jackson518677
Shelby512898
Lawrence4961127
Gibson467296
Montgomery461392
Clinton458455
DeKalb458485
Harrison456977
Huntington421382
Whitley418645
Steuben412861
Miami407273
Jasper402556
Knox393191
Putnam386862
Wabash371684
Adams355356
Ripley352771
Jefferson347187
White340954
Daviess3098100
Wells304881
Greene295985
Decatur293493
Fayette287464
Posey285435
Scott283458
LaGrange278472
Clay276049
Washington255637
Randolph248283
Jennings240449
Spencer239731
Fountain237250
Starke230859
Owen224759
Sullivan222943
Fulton209545
Jay203432
Carroll198822
Orange192756
Perry191939
Vermillion181944
Rush178627
Tipton173848
Franklin173035
Parke156816
Pike143434
Blackford138232
Pulaski124048
Newton123736
Benton110515
Brown106443
Crawford106316
Martin92715
Warren88015
Switzerland8488
Union73710
Ohio58411
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