Indiana’s Republican Secretary of State Connie Lawson launched an investigation into the Indiana Voter Registration Project, a non-profit organization that aims to register African-American voters.
Lawson wrote a letter to state election officials last month warning that “nefarious actors” were engaged in potential voter fraud. An investigation conducted by the State Police found incorrect birth dates and first names on the state’s voter rolls, but could not determine why or how the changes were made.
Democrats have cried foul and say the state actions prevented the group from registering 10,000 voters before the voter registration deadline.
Dr. Benjamin Chavis, President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, appeared on NewsOne Now and called Indiana Republicans’ actions to bar 10,000 voters from being registered “voter suppression“: “We got to call Mike Pence’s name … it was the Indiana State Police (that) put a raid on the largest voter registration apparatus in the state of Indiana.”
Chavis added, “They shut it down and they confiscated the records.”
According to the civil rights activist, as a result of the police raid, “All of the people that the voter registration group have registered are now in jeopardy” and when these thousands of Black voters go to vote on Election Day, they could be questioned.
Dr. Chavis continued: “It’s interesting Republicans – Donald Trump, Mike Pence – talk about voter fraud. They need to look in the mirror ’cause the only thing wrong with the election in 2016 is Republican Black voter suppression.”
Host Roland Martin questioned why the entire organization was shut down for what appears to be a small number of mistakes on the voter registration documents.
Chavis responded: “Anybody that’s done voter registration knows when people fill out the blanks, in some states even if they fill out the blank incorrectly, you are required by law to turn that incorrect blank in. You just can’t go and correct it because you can’t alter records.
“This is not voter fraud, this is voter suppression led by state officials and Gov. Mike Pence ought to be ashamed of himself,“ said Dr. Chavis.
“You know what? This is going to make Black folks know the value of their vote even more. If our vote wasn’t valuable, they wouldn’t be trying to suppress it,” he concluded.
Watch Roland Martin, Dr. Ben Chavis, and the NewsOne Now panel discuss the attempts to disenfranchise African-American voters in Indiana in the video clip above.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty