Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Judge Gives Green Light To Satellite Voting In Lake County

Lake County Democrats have figured out that the 12-hour voting period on election day is simply not enough time to allow them to steal all the votes they need to win an election. They've convinced a judge that if the three most Democratic cities in Lake County are not allowed to conduct early satellite voting facilities, that the right to "free and equal" elections under Indiana's constitution will be violated. An opinion issued by Lake Co. Circuit Court Judge Lorenzo Arredondo notices the fact that a law enacted by the Indiana General Assembly, I.C. 3-11-10-26.3, requires a unanimous vote of the county election board to approve satellite voting facilities. The election board voted 3-2 in favor of satellite voting along party lines. Nonetheless, Judge Arredondo determined the application of the statute in this instance violated the right to "free and equal" elections. Here's his reasoning:

  • Many people won't be able to exercise their right to vote if satellite voting is not allowed in the heavily Democratic cities of Gary, East Chicago and Hammond: "Job responsibilities and lengthy work commutes and such family responsibilities as taking care of family members with serious medical conditions," he cites as constraints making "voting on election day difficult or impossible."
  • Explaining why these people can't possibly travel to Crown Point to cast their vote early in- person: Most of these people are poor and "must rely on public transportation or friends or family." "Public transportation . . . is sparse and takes too long."
  • Far more people live in these three cities than in Crown Point.
  • 90% of Lake County's African-Americans live in Gary, East Chicago and Hammond. Crown Point is 95% white.
  • Without explaining, his opinion says many of these alleged voters who can't possibly vote in-person on election day aren't permitted to cast absentee ballots.

The more we supposedly progress as a civilized society the more warped our election laws are becoming, particularly when judges decide to substitute their judgment for the legislature's judgment in the conduct of elections. Anyone who understands the absentee voting procedures knows that the very persons Judge Arredondo identified in his opinion as being unable to cast absentee votes in lieu of voting on election day is simply not the case. We have witnessed more than a quarter of the votes cast in the form of absentee ballots in some Indiana counties in recent elections. The absentee ballot law is clearly no impediment to these voters. Lake County Democrats want a wide open opportunity in the coming weeks leading up to this election to win as many votes by hook or crook as they can. Judge Arredondo's ruling ordering the opening of these satellite facilities does nothing to serve the idea of "free and open" elections. It may, however, have the effect of diluting the vote of otherwise legitimate voters if it enables additional voter fraud to occur in this election, which we have every reason to suspect will happen based upon the Lake County Democrat's long history of stealing votes.

In the end, it may make little difference. Republican hopes in Indiana could not be more pessimistic at this point. It's obvious that President Bush's unpopularity is taking the whole Republican ticket down. Republicans face a disaster nationwide in the congressional elections. Democrats will probably pick up up another two dozen House Seats and ten Senate seats. I wouldn't be surprised to see Indiana with two fewer GOP congressmen after this November's election. Fellow blogger Paul Ogden predicts that Gov. Mitch Daniels will have a 110,000-vote hole to climb out of after the votes are counted in Marion and Lake Counties. If that prediction holds true, even Daniels is in deep trouble.

UPDATE: The Indiana Supreme Court late yesterday ruled to consolidate two competing cases in Lake County. The Court has ordered the case in front of Judge Arredondo consolidated into the case before Judge Hawkins in the Superior Court; however, the order of Arredondo allowing the opening of the additional satellite voting sites remains in place until Judge Hawkins rules otherwise. Hat tip to Indiana Law Blog.

5 comments:

gnwmann said...

Hm.. interesting conjecture, Gary. Exactly which Repub Congressmen would be falling to the Democratic scythe? Buyer? Souder? Pence? Burton? I'd be interested to see your thoughts.

IndyPaul said...

Thank-you, Gary, for posting the Judge's decision. I agree with his reasoning - that failure to have early voting in the 5th and 6th largest cities in the state vs. tiny Crown Point 15-20 miles away would cause racial disparities, and that there is irreparable harm in not allowing it - people in heavily populted noth county will not have the opportunity to vote. Apparently there was a later decision in the Superior Court case agreeing with this decision.

I also appreciate your honest assessment of the GOP's position in Indiana. What GOP congressman/men do you have in mind? Souder, perhaps? I see your old neighbor Montagano is only 5 points back, and the DCCC has just invested some ad time in that race. I haven't seen any polling in the 4th or 6th, but imagine Pence and Buyer have healthy leads.

Sir Hailstone said...

What I think is an even scarier scenario is the US Senate having a 60 vote bullet proof majority, therein allowing an Obama presidency to rule unchecked.

Advance Indiana said...

The two are quite obvious. Souder and Buyer.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Gary,

On November 4th, it won't be John McCain who sould have been worried about the integrity of the vote in Lake and Marion County, it will be Governor Daniels, Greg Zoeller and Tony Bennett. In particular, I think Gov. Daniels may end up losing a close race because of Lake and Marion Counties. Expect accusations of fraud in those two counties.

P.S. Thanks for the plug on the 110,000 vote prediction.