LAPORTE COUNTY | The chairman of the LaPorte County Democratic Party is calling for a federal investigation into the purging of more than 13,000 people from voter registration lists in LaPorte County.
County officials said names that had been removed wrongfully have been added back into the registration books.
On Thursday, all of the corrections had been completed with more than 10,000 still eligible voters reentering the logs.
The remainder of the names were not put back in due to deaths and other factors such as relocating outside the county, said Donna Harris, co-director of the LaPorte County Voter Registration Office.
Nevertheless, LaPorte County Democratic Party Chairman John Jones said he is asking for the inquiry.
"Voters deserve to know how this got started in the first place," said Jones.
Jones said he will ask the U.S. Department of Justice Election Integrity Task Force to investigate the wrongful purging of voters.
He said the effort to clean up voter registration lists in LaPorte County was led by Harris.
She is the wife of Keith Harris, county Republican Party chairman who also is a candidate for LaPorte County clerk.
Under federal law, Jones said voters can only be purged if they have not voted in two federal election cycles.
Jones said the purged voters did not vote in state and local elections in 2010 or 2011 but they did cast ballots in the 2008 presidential election.
Therefore, he said they should not have been purged from voter registration lists.
"This wrongful effort to deprive voters of their constitutional rights has been halted in its tracks," said Jones.
Donna Harris said on the advice of her lawyer she declined to respond to Jones' allegations.
However, she said names were purged from voter registration lists throughout Indiana in 2011 at the orders of the state as a general updating of the books.
Donna Harris said the more than 10,000 people added back to the list of registered voters will have to cast a ballot in the upcoming election to remain on the books.
She said the process for removing names begins when people fail to vote in two consecutive presidential elections.
Two separate mailings then go out to their homes and if the letters come back with a notice they no longer live at that location the names of those individuals are taken off the books.
After the voter registration list was purged, Harris said the names started being added back after a woman who came in to vote absentee this month discovered she was no longer listed as a registered voter and complained to the courts.