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Marshall County judge rejects GOP request for temporary restraining order in election board lawsuit

A Marshall County judge has declined to issue a temporary restraining order requested by the Indiana and St. Joseph County Republican Parties in their lawsuit against the Democratic members of the St. Joseph County Election Board.

It’s the latest development in a fight over allegations that Democratic County Clerk Rita Glenn’s office violated Indiana law by how it handled absentee ballots in the May 2022 primary, as well as the existence of multiple keys to the ballot storage room.

The election board passed a resolution last week that delegates powers covering the processing and storage of those ballots to Glenn for the 2022 general election. It was based on an Indiana law which allows for the clerk to perform election board duties with the board’s permission.

The GOP argued that would strip Republican board member Thomas Dixon of the power to review signatures on absentee ballots and have sole access to the Republican key to the ballot storage room. The suit, which was filed Monday, argued that a temporary restraining order was needed to maintain the bipartisan processing of absentee ballots.

But in a Wednesday order, Judge Curtis Palmer wrote that the plaintiffs did not meet the legal burden for such an order. Practically, that means attorneys for the election board will have a chance to have a hearing before the judge and argue their side of the case before the next step — a preliminary injunction — could be issued.

In a Tuesday statement, the St. Joseph Democratic Party said the whole situation is an “intentional attempt” at manufacturing a conspiracy “to smear the County Clerk’s office and cast doubt into the minds of voters” similar to Donald Trump’s big lie that the 2020 election was stolen.

Contact Jakob at or follow him on Twitter at @JakobLazzaro.

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Jakob Lazzaro came to Indiana from Chicago, where he graduated from Northwestern University in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and a double major in History. Before joining WVPE, he wrote NPR's Source of the Week e-mail newsletter, and previously worked for CalMatters, Pittsburgh's 90.5 WESA and North by Northwestern.