Lawson, who served in the state senate since 1996 and as clerk of the Hendricks County Circuit Court for seven years before that, was one of the two original authors of Senate Bill 483. That law, enacted in 2005 and upheld by a divided U.S. Supreme Court in 2008, was among the nation’s first laws mandating strict photo identification requirements for voters.
Along with Georgia, Indiana’s voter ID rules were the strictest in the nation until 2011 — making it significantly more difficult for voters without valid driver’s licenses to exercise their constitutional right to vote. Since the 2010 elections, Republican legislatures around the country, pushed by their allies at the right-wing corporate front group American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), have been passing similar laws in an organized “war on voting.” These measures, of course, disproportionately disenfranchise minority voters who are less likely to have valid photo identification — and, probably not coincidentally, are most likely to vote for Democratic candidates. Daniels himself signed Lawson’s bill into law; her co-author said at the time that it was needed to guard against voter fraud.
Actual cases of voting fraud are so rare that a voter is much more likely to be struck by lightning than to commit fraud at the polls, though White proved to be the rare exception. He registered and voted in the wrong district, falsely claiming his ex-wife’s residence as his own. Lawson’s law and voter ID laws like it do nothing to prevent that kind of fraud. White had ironically campaigned on election integrity and a pledge to “protect and defend Indiana’s Voter ID law to ensure our elections are fair and protect the most basic and precious right and responsibility of our democracy-voting.”
Hopefully, at least Lawson will oversee the state’s voter suppression without the hypocrisy White demonstrated.