Please remember – The polls close at 6 p.m. in Indiana, so vote early! Try to vote before work or at lunch. People often skip voting in mid-term elections, which is unfortunate since they tend to have a much greater impact on your daily life than the national elections. If you don’t know who your candidates are, Vote Smart is always helpful in figuring that out.
Where to vote: Indianapolis has a polling locator website. Unfortunately it seems to prefer Internet Explorer to Firefox, where the form to enter your address into is completely hosed. The screen is better in Safari for the Mac; at least you can enter your info. Way to be accessible, people. Incidentally I’ve noticed lots of the city website is only useable in IE.
If you live in Indianapolis (especially downtown) and are concerned about GLBT issues, here’s a great rundown of the candidates on that issue from Mark St. John of the Indiana Equality PAC. I should clarify I grabbed this information from an email list from our neighborhood where people were asking Mark directly what he thought about candidates, so some of his personal preferences might be included with official positions of IE.
In Marion County the House of Representatives candidates with which IEPAC has been working in support include Susan Fuldauer (D) in House District 88 (running against Representative Brian Bosma), Representative David Orentlicher (D) in House District 86 (running against Kathryn Densborn), and John Barnes (D) in House District 89 (running against Larry Buell). All three – Orentlicher, Fuldauer, and Barnes – have stated positions in opposition to the marriage amendment and in favor of the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in the state’s civil rights laws.
As for House District 97 (which includes most of downtown Indianapolis, including the Old Northside, Chatham Arch, etc.), the candidates are the incumbent, Representative Ed Mahern (D), and the Republican candidate John Elrod. Mahern is a strong supporter of LGBT civil rights issues, and voted in opposition to the proposed marriage amendment. He has a gay brother, and his entire family is highly supportive of the LGBT community. Elrod has stated his opposition to the marriage amendment, although mostly in private, one-on-one conversations. He has put out some pretty nasty mailings during the campaign, twisting around votes made by Mahern regarding illegal immigrants and child abuse so as to make Ed appear to be the Devil incarnate. Just a few minutes ago I received a killer call on behalf of Elrod, stating that Mahern is a career politician who is only worried about taking care of himself. Please be aware that Elrod is an attorney, and serves on the advisory board of Center Township. Elrod is in opposition the proposed consolidation of Marion County fire departments – hence, Elrod is busy protecting his political friends in township government and his own bottom line. For me, the real bottom line – Elrod is a Republican who will vote for Brian Bosma to be Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives – something that is very dangerous to the future for the LGBT community.
In other races, both prosecutor candidates, Melinda Kennedy (D) and Carl Brizzi (R) have expressed support for hate crimes legislation (to include sexual orientation and gender identity). Melinda appears to be far stronger than Brizzi on domestic violence issues. Brizzi has included sexual orientation (and gender identity, I believe) in his office’s non-discrimination policies. My vote is for Melinda.
In the Senate District 31 race the challenger, Russell Brown (D) has announced his opposition to the marriage amendment and in favor of LGBT civil rights protections. The incumbent, Jim Merritt, voted in favor of the marriage amendment in both 2004 and 2005. Pretty simple choice here.
In Congressional District 7, what can I say? Julia Carson has been with the LGBT community through thick and thin. Her support of the changes to the Indianapolis Human Rights Ordinance were key to the enactment of local protections for the LGBT community. It’s essential that we remember our friends.
Mark St. John