No Redo for Unconstitutional Judicial Election

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By Kimberly Strawbridge Robinson

Sept. 22 — An Indiana county won't have to redo its judicial election even though a federal court found its election procedures unconstitutional, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit said Sept. 21 ( Bowes v. Ind. Sec'y of State, 2016 BL 310924, 7th Cir., No. 16-2350, 9/21/16 ).

In 2014, a federal court held that an Indiana state law setting procedures for Marion County Superior Court judges, Indiana Code §33-33-49-13, was unconstitutional because it limited the number of candidates a political party could place on the general election ballot.

Two candidates who performed poorly in the Democratic primary election—and therefore didn't make the general election ballot—asked that a special election be held to vindicate their right to be on the general election ballot.

The Seventh Circuit refused.

The “state's significant interest in governing without disruption outweighed plaintiffs' interest in being placed on the ballot,” Judge Joel M. Flaum wrote for the court.

He was joined by Judges Ilana Diamond Rovner and Diane S. Sykes.

Gregory Bowes and Christopher K. Starkey represented themselves.

The Office of the Attorney General, Indianapolis, and the Office of the Corporation Counsel, Indianapolis, represented the state defendants.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kimberly Strawbridge Robinson in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at and Jeffrey D. Koelemay at

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