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Governor, Election Commission now defendants in Marion County election case

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A federal suit that challenges the constitutionality of Marion County judicial elections has been amended to name the governor and members of the Indiana Election Commission as defendants.

Common Cause and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana have amended their complaint that seeks a hearing on an injunction against enforcement of Indiana Code 33-33-49-13. The amended complaint in Common Cause v. Indiana Secretary of State, 1:12-CV-1603, was filed Thursday in the District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

The complaint was amended after the state filed a motion to dismiss, claiming the complaint fails to state a claim on which relief can be granted and is barred by the 11th Amendment. The state also claims that the secretary of state is powerless to enforce the law in question.

Common Cause in its complaint filed in November said the law setting forth the process for electing Marion Superior judges is “unique in Indiana, and perhaps in the nation.”

State law permits Democratic and Republican parties to conduct primary elections to fill exactly half of the judicial seats, “which renders the general election a mere formality,” according to a statement from ACLU of Indiana. Each party “slates” 10 candidates before the primary for 10 judicial vacancies allotted to each party. Voters in the general election then choose up to 20 judges of the 20 on the ballot.

The process of “slating” of Marion County Superior judicial races has drawn criticism, since each candidate who earned the party’s endorsement on the primary ballot contributed identical amounts to the local party before each party’s slating convention preceding the primary. For Democrats, the contribution was $13,100; for Republicans, it was $12,000, according to a review of campaign contributions earlier this year by Indiana Lawyer.

No hearing has been set in the matter.

 

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  • Slating?
    I think there needs to be a correction. I believe the lawsuit only challenges the process by which the Democrats nominate half the judges and the Republicans nominate half and everyone is elected in the fall, leaving voters without a choice. I don't believe the lawsuit challenges slating at all. Slating is a separate matter from the issue raised in the lawsuit.

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  1. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

  5. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

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