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Special judge: Keep early-voting sites open

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A special judge has ordered satellite early-voting sites in East Chicago, Gary, and Hammond to remain open over the objections of two Lake County Republicans.

Lake Superior Judge Diane Kavadias Schneider issued the order this afternoon in the consolidated cases of State of Indiana, ex rel. John B. Curley, et al. v. Lake County Board of Elections and Registration, and Hon. Thomas Philpot as Lake County Clerk, et al., No. 45D02-0810-PL-190, and United Steel Workers District 7, et al. v. Lake County Board of Elections and Registration, No. 45C01-0810-PL-256.

Republicans John Curley and Jim Brown challenged the opening of satellite early-voting offices in Lake County, citing potential voter fraud and the election board's lack of a unanimous decision in voting to open the sites. The United Steel Workers District 7 and other plaintiffs brought their suit to keep the locations open.

The Lake County Board of Elections and Registration was split 3-2 down party lines in their vote to open the satellite locations; the Democrats believed their majority vote allowed the locations to operate.

Indiana Code Section 3-11-10-26.3 requires a county election board to unanimously vote to establish satellite offices in the county, and under that statute, the location and operating hours must be included. The election board's order just included the location of the offices, not the hours of operation.

Despite these deficiencies in the Lake County Board of Elections and Registration's establishment of the satellite early-voting sites, Judge Schneider ruled to keep the sites open. She cited caselaw supporting that in the absence of fraud, election statutes are generally liberally construed to guarantee voters the opportunity to vote.

To stop early voting in Lake County on the basis of "an alleged technical irregularity" would contravene the purpose of election laws, wrote the judge, and the failure to establish these satellite early-voting locations could violate the U.S. Constitution by making it more difficult for some people of Lake County to cast their vote early.

Judge Schneider was appointed special judge in this consolidated case by the Indiana Supreme Court Oct. 16 after the parties failed to select a special judge by the prescribed deadline set by the high court.

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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