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Unslated candidate files suit against Marion County Election Board

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A Democratic candidate for state representative for Indiana’s District 100 who was not slated by his party is suing the Marion County Election Board after the board ordered his election materials seized before the primary election for violating Ind. Code 3-14-1-2.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed the lawsuit in federal court in Indianapolis Tuesday, asking for declaratory and injunctive relief on behalf of Zachary Mulholland. Mulholland sought to be the slated candidate for the Democratic Party for District 100, but Dan Forestal was slated and endorsed by the party.

Mulholland ran against the slate and printed a flyer for the May 2012 primary that listed various Democratic candidates, including himself. According to the lawsuit, the flyer was not misleading or fraudulent, and did not imply or state Mulholland was endorsed by the Democratic Party.

On May 8, 2012, primary day, the Marion County Election Board found the flyer violated I.C. 3-14-1-2 because the names of the candidates appearing on the slate and the consent of the candidates to be listed were not submitted to the board within five days of printing or distributing the material. The Marion County Sheriff’s Department assisted in collecting the voting materials, according to the suit.

The lawsuit claims that the board cannot subpoena Mulholland to appear before it and discuss the distribution of the election materials because I.C. 3-14-1-2 was found unconstitutional in Ogden v. Marendt, 1:03-CV-415, (S.D. Ind. 2003).

Because he ran against the slate, Mulholland won’t be able to be slated for at least six years pursuant to Marion County Democratic Party rules, the suit says. He wants to run for future offices and produce flyers that are “slates” as specified in I.C. 3-14-1-2. “Slate” is defined as “a sample ballot, reproduction of an official ballot, or a listing of candidates: (1) having the names or numbers of more than one (1) candidate for nomination at a primary election; and (2) that expresses support for more than one (1) of the candidates set forth on the ballot or list.”

“Zachary Mulholland is currently having Indiana Code 3-14-1-2 enforced against him through the as-of-yet unissued, but ordered subpoena, and is threatened with enforcement against him of the law in the future by the defendant when he runs for future offices,” the suit says. “Plaintiff is being caused irreparable harm for which there is no adequate remedy at law.”

The suit, Zachary Mulholland v. Marion County Election Board, 1:12-CV-1502, seeks to prevent the election board from enforcing the statute in question in any manner.

Mulholland is currently a research analyst at the Indiana University Public Policy Institute and received his law degree from I.U. Robert H. McKinney School of Law.

 

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