Judge rejects bid for injunction in Indianapolis judicial elections

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A federal judge last week denied a request from Democratic candidates who sued to be placed on Tuesday’s general election ballot for Marion Superior judge.

Chief Judge Richard Young of the United States Court for the Southern District of Indiana on Thursday denied a motion for preliminary injunction sought by Gregory Bowes and Christopher Starkey after a hearing on the same day.

The candidates sought the injunction because they were denied access to the general election ballot under a statute that Young previously ruled unconstitutional.  The state is appealing the ruling in a lawsuit brought by the public-interest group Common Cause and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana.

Eight Republicans and eight Democrats are on the ballot for 16 judgeships that are shared equally between the parties based on the statute Young said appeared to be unique in the nation. His ruling striking down I.C. 33-34-19-13(b) said it did not provide those going to the polls in the general election a meaningful vote because the parties slate their share of candidates during the primary elections.

However, Young stayed his ruling until after appeals so the decision would not affect Tuesday’s election.

Bowes and Starkey argued that if injunctive relief was not granted, the results of Tuesday’s election should be invalidated and a special election conducted. Bowes argued that each party should be allowed to run a candidate for each open judgeship. The case is Gregory Bowes and Christopher K. Starkey v. Indiana Secretary of State, et al., 1:14-CV-1322.  


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