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Yesterday, I published a diary about some of the GOP'S latest dirty tactics in Northwest Indiana. In my first post, I pointed out some of the galling news being reported by blogger Josh Kalven at ProgressIllinois.com and journalist John Byrne at the  Post Tribune website. The basic gyst of the stories there - is that the GOP is trying to stop Lake County's Election Board from opening satellite voting places for early voting. But that's not the half of it. The thing is, Lake County is the region closest to Chicago, where Senator Obama works & lives. People know him best there. It's a heavily populated area. And the region, or Region as Hoosiers say, voted overwhemingly in Obama's favor during the May 6th primary. He won Lake County by a margin of 14% - Obama got 57% of Lake County's vote to Clinton's 43%. Follow me on down below the fold...

As Josh Kalven noted, there is even more injustice being done here. The GOP is arguing that it would be unfair to open additional voting sites in the most populated sections of Lake County. Can anyone say Twisted-Logic? The GOP wants to only have early voting in the county seat, or Crown Point.

The issue here - is that Crown Point is largely affluent and it's the 7th biggest city in Lake County. And the larger cities in Lake County, where the Democrats want to open early voting sites, have sizable communities of people of color and lower-income families. In other words, the GOP is trying to stop Black and Latino American voters from voting for no good reason. The blogger Josh Kalven explains,

"Following the 3-2 party-line vote (where the Democrats had a majority), the board of elections proceeded with its plan to open up the voting centers.  Meanwhile, the county Republican Party argued that state law requires each board to unanimously approve any satellite voting and pledged to mount a legal challenge.  The Democrats countered that voting centers located in city clerk's offices -- which are part of the county government -- don't fall under the statute cited by the GOP.  

Yesterday, the GOP's legal challenge made its way to federal court, where Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen scheduled a hearing for next Thursday and convinced the Democrats not to begin early voting at the three locations until he ruled on the temporary restraining order filed by the Republicans."

As of yesterday, Lake County's Democrats agreed to wait until this Thursday to have another court ruling. But early voting was supposed to start this week on Monday, and it has been stalled because of this. As a result, a whole week of early voting could be lost. But there's been a new development since yesterday. On BlueIndiana.net, the blogger Thomas posted some news. Thomas writes,

According to sources in Lake County, a group of plaintiffs filed a separate lawsuit in Indiana Circuit Court this morning (10-6-08) asserting that the ongoing early voting in Crown Point -- but not in Gary, Hammond, and East Chicago -- represented a violation of the state constitution.  Judge Lorenzo Arredondo agreed and today approved a TRO instructing early voting to commence in these three locales.  The plaintiffs included the local steelworkers and teachers unions, along with State Sen. Earline Rogers and a county resident.

Considering that the federal hearing is delayed until Thursday, it's unclear what exactly is going to happen.  But I hear that it's possible the three satellite locations will open as early as tomorrow.

Yay for steelworkers and teachers! So now the question remains - What will happen to early voting here? These areas mean so much, for so many people. And they could help Senator Obama since Indiana is now being viewed as a toss-up by many critics. If they are Democratic strongholds for Senator Obama, we have to ask - What will become of the voting there? Since I'm not from this part of the state, my sources of information are limited. Does anyone have any updates? Is there any news that we're not aware of? If you can, I also ask - please contact your local officials, write letters to the editors, or give the GOP a piece of your mind! Here's some ways to TAKE ACTION through some peaceful & smart ways-

  1. Write a Letter to the Editor! Write to your local paper about your concerns. Here's the Democrats' great Webpage for writing letters to the editor. Or write a letter to the Indianapolis Star newspaper, which is widely read in Indianapolis, the state capital. Their letter to the editor page is Here.
  1. Sign-Up to Volunteer! You can help the Obama campaign by signing up at their website Here. You can donate as much or as little time as you want. They'll contact you in the coming days. You can make phone calls, go door-knocking, or bring in some food for volunteers.
  1. Call the GOP Out! Contact the Chairperson of the GOP in Lake County, Indiana and ask him - "Why is your party trying to stop these cities from voting?" The Chairperson is - Mr. John Curley - and his phone number is - (219) 769-4168. His fax # is - (219)663-3935. You can also e-mail John at - curley5222@aol.com. Here's the local party Website up there in Lake County.

NB: I've already contacted the Obama Campaign about this, and a few other local officials who I know, but I'd like to make this news around Indiana because it's till not getting enough attention. So let's make these GOP scoundrels famous. Let's make our voices heard.

Originally posted to Blue Liberty on Mon Oct 06, 2008 at 06:06 PM PDT.

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