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Lake County Election Board hears robo-call complaint

Updated: December 5, 2012 6:44AM



CROWN POINT — A last-minute complaint has been filed against the Republican candidate for the District 12 state representative seat.

Katy Dowling, of St. John, filed the complaint Friday with the Lake County Board of Elections because she said she received unauthorized robocalls from William Fine’s campaign Nov. 1 and Nov. 2. Fine is challenging incumbent Democrat Mara Candelaria Reardon for the seat.

Dowling, who lives in the 10000 block of Pleasant Drive in St. John, said she is not a District 12 resident and was not given a chance to give verbal consent to the call, something she said is required.

“I filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office (Friday),” Dowling said.

A robocall is a telephone call that uses a computerized autodialer to deliver a prerecorded message.

Fine was not notified of the complaint. The Election Board received the complaint as an addition to the agenda of its Saturday morning meeting.

Election Board members Patrick Gabrione and Kim Krull, the two Republicans, said there was no proof the calls came from Fine’s campaign or were robocalls. They said the board would be premature in taking any action.

Jeffrey Gunning, the board’s Republican attorney, said the board does not have jurisdiction over robocalling complaints and could potentially run into due process or First Amendment issues if it takes action against Fine or issued a cease-and-desist order.

He said the appropriate body for action is the state Attorney General’s Office.

Democratic members disagreed. Mike Brown said it makes no sense that the Election Board would not have jurisdiction over election robocalling issues and it should notify Fine.

Board members approved 3-2 along party lines a motion to send a letter to Fine via email or fax Saturday informing him they received a complaint and notifying him a complaint also was filed with the Indiana Attorney General’s Office.



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