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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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  2. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

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  5. I am the father of a sweet little one-year-old named girl, who happens to have Down Syndrome. To anyone who reads this who may be considering the decision to terminate, please know that your child will absolutely light up your life as my daughter has the lives of everyone around her. There is no part of me that condones abortion of a child on the basis that he/she has or might have Down Syndrome. From an intellectual standpoint, however, I question the enforceability of this potential law. As it stands now, the bill reads in relevant part as follows: "A person may not intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion . . . if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely because the fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome or a potential diagnosis of Down syndrome." It includes similarly worded provisions abortion on "any other disability" or based on sex selection. It goes so far as to make the medical provider at least potentially liable for wrongful death. First, how does a medical provider "know" that "the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion SOLELY" because of anything? What if the woman says she just doesn't want the baby - not because of the diagnosis - she just doesn't want him/her? Further, how can the doctor be liable for wrongful death, when a Child Wrongful Death claim belongs to the parents? Is there any circumstance in which the mother's comparative fault will not exceed the doctor's alleged comparative fault, thereby barring the claim? If the State wants to discourage women from aborting their children because of a Down Syndrome diagnosis, I'm all for that. Purporting to ban it with an unenforceable law, however, is not the way to effectuate this policy.

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