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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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