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Judge declines to interfere with voter ID law

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A federal judge in Indianapolis won't interfere with the state law requiring voters to show photo identification at the election polls.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Larry McKinney denied a temporary injunction request from a Cumberland attorney and resident who is challenging Indiana's 3-year-old voter ID law that's been upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States.

Plaintiff Robbin G. Stewart filed the suit in April in Marion County, though it was later removed to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, to resolve the multiple federal and state constitutional claims. In September, Stewart asked the judge for one of three potential relief options: that he be allowed to vote without showing the required photo ID; that the state and county be required to count all provisional ballots cast by those not showing photo ID; or that the state not be allowed to enforce the voter ID law during the Nov. 4 general election.

Judge McKinney heard arguments Oct. 14 in Robbin Stewart v. Marion County, et al., No. 1:08-cv-586-LJM-TAB, and took the matter under advisement.

In his 10-page ruling, Judge McKinney rejected each of Stewart's arguments and found that he didn't represent a class of any similarly situated Hoosier voters and that he didn't adequately show any hardship in obtaining a photo ID. The court referenced how Stewart himself had obtained a valid license, and that meant he can vote and wouldn't suffer any irreparable injury by this injunction denial.

Turning to the landmark ruling issued earlier this year in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, 128 S.Ct. 1610 (2008), Judge McKinney noted the reasoning in that facial challenge case applies to Stewart, even though he'd asserted this as an as-applied challenge that survives the Crawford scrutiny.

"Plaintiff has not designated any evidence to demonstrate a burden that, on balance, outweighs the State's interest in protecting against voter fraud," the judge wrote.

Judge McKinney also rejected Stewart's federal constitutional claims that the state law violates the First and 21st Amendments, finding that the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago had explicitly held in Crawford that the law isn't a poll tax and that all courts had decided it didn't violate the First Amendment.

On a claim that the law violates the Fourth Amendment on search and seizures, the judge pointed out that Stewart did not cite a single case holding that poll workers must have probable cause before requiring voters to produce a valid photographic ID, and as a result he didn't show he could win on that claim.

The judge also rejected Stewart's state constitutional claims, finding that he didn't cite adequate legal authority and has not demonstrated any likelihood of success on the merits.

"I'm disappointed but not shocked," Stewart said about the judge's ruling. "The case is still alive; it's not like he dismissed it or anything. The next step is to take this to the 7th Circuit for some preliminary relief."

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  1. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  2. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  3. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

  4. Well, I agree with you that the people need to wake up and see what our judges and politicians have done to our rights and freedoms. This DNA loophole in the statute of limitations is clearly unconstitutional. Why should dna evidence be treated different than video tape evidence for example. So if you commit a crime and they catch you on tape or if you confess or leave prints behind: they only have five years to bring their case. However, if dna identifies someone they can still bring a case even fifty-years later. where is the common sense and reason. Members of congress are corrupt fools. They should all be kicked out of office and replaced by people who respect the constitution.

  5. If the AG could pick and choose which state statutes he defended from Constitutional challenge, wouldn't that make him more powerful than the Guv and General Assembly? In other words, the AG should have no choice in defending laws. He should defend all of them. If its a bad law, blame the General Assembly who presumably passed it with a majority (not the government lawyer). Also, why has there been no write up on the actual legislators who passed the law defining marriage? For all the fuss Democrats have made, it would be interesting to know if some Democrats voted in favor of it (or if some Republican's voted against it). Have a nice day.

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