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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ind. Courts - Update on: Judge Arredondo orders early voting locations to open [Updated]

Updating the reports from this morning, Josh Kalven of Progress Illinois reports:

The dispute over early voting in Lake County, IN came to a head this morning, as Lake County Circuit Court Judge Lorenzo Arredondo ordered in-person absentee voting centers in Gary, Hammond, and East Chicago to open immediately. Around noon, two voting machines en route from Crown Point (the county seat) arrived at the courthouse in Gary, where residents and local media outlets had already congregated in anticipation. Just before 1 p.m., State Sen. Earline Rogers (right) cast the first vote. The line of 20 to 30 waiting outside the clerk's office burst into applause when she emerged.

At the time Rogers turned in her ballot, election officials were reportedly setting up machines in Hammond and East Chicago as well.

More details just posted by Bill Dolan of the NWI Times:
GARY | U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky hopes to be among the first to cast an early vote in this year’s election Tuesday afternoon in Gary.

Visclosky, D-Merrillville, is scheduled to vote at the Lake Superior Court building at 15 W. 4th Ave., in Gary, hours after Lake County Circuit Court Judge Lorenzo Arredondo ordered centers in Gary, Hammond and East Chicago to be reopened Tuesday morning, giving Democrats, the NAACP and the United Steelworkers union at least a short-term victory.

The Times story includes a link to Judge Lorenzo Arredondo's 6-page Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction. A quote:
15. There is a substantial likelihood that the failure to provide access to early voting to Gary, Hammond, and East Chicago violates Article 2, Section 1 of the Indiana Constitution for the following reasons, among others, alone and in combination: It is unconstitutional to provide access to early voting to residents of the small community of Crown Point and not provide it to Lake County's major population centers in Gary, Hammond, and East Chicago; there is no reasonable justification for a change in election procedure from the primary election in May 2008 when there was early voting in Gary, Hammond, and East Chicago; and the failure to provide early voting in Gary, Hammond, and East Chicago would create a significant racial disparity in access to early voting.

16. The equities weight heavily in favor of a preliminary injunction. Plaintiffs' fundamental right to vote is threatened absent an injunction, and this injury would be irreparable. On the other side of the scale, there is no injury from allowing early voting to proceed in Gary, Hammond, and East Chicago. Moreover, the public interest weights heavily in favor of permitting early voting.

[Updated at 5:27 PM] Watch the Chicago ABC 7 report by Ben Bradley, who is awaiting the second opinion of the day - that would be Judge Hawkins.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 14, 2008 03:05 PM
Posted to Ind. Trial Ct. Decisions | Indiana Courts