A new law in Indiana aims to shut down hundreds of polling locations in a county that is home to the biggest population of Hispanics and the second-largest population of African Americans by consolidating precincts with fewer than 600 active voters as of the 2016 election.
The new law, the Lake County Precinct Consolidation Law, which was passed in May by Gov. Eric Holcomb of Indiana, is now facing a lawsuit from the Indiana chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) that argues the law creates obstacles for poor, minority and elderly population trying to vote.
The NAACP also argues that the law specifically targets Lake County and ignores about 1,345 precincts outside Lake County that contain fewer than 600 active voters.
But the trend of eliminating polling locations is not new to Indiana. An investigation by the Indianapolis Star revealed that since 2008, Republican officials in Indiana have decreased early polling locations in predominantly Democratic, urban area while increasing the number of early voting locations in conservative, suburban areas. This has been occurring since President Barack Obama won the state of Indiana in the 2008 presidential cycle.
The NAACP alleges that this law makes it difficult for many people to travel to new polling locations, especially those who are poor, elderly or disabled. The NAACP also argues that the law violates the Voting Rights Act, as well as the First, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments of the Constitution.
It may be 2017, but Jim Crow is far from over.