Attorney says veteran denied 'fundamental' liberty.
SOUTH BEND — An attorney representing a man who claims he was improperly denied access to a polling place because he was carrying a gun filed a lawsuit Wednesday in St. Joseph Superior Court against the county Election Board and other various parties, including the County Police Department and Board of Commissioners and the Warren Township Board of Trustees and Fire Department.
The lawsuit, filed by Zionsville-based attorney Guy Relford on behalf of Warren Township resident Clay Edinger, a former U.S. Marine and Iraq War veteran, seeks damages, attorney's fees, court costs, and other relief related to the county's policy regarding the possession of firearms inside polling places.
According to the lawsuit, on May 8, primary election day, poll workers at Warren Township Fire Station No. 2, citing state law, denied Edinger, a registered voter, access to the polls because he was carrying a gun.
Edinger, who holds a valid license to carry a handgun in the state, researched the law and returned later in the afternoon, the lawsuit states, only to be denied access a second time for the same reason. The lawsuit claims that the poll workers acted at the direction of the county Election Board and Board of Commissioners, and that a county police officer and a member of the township fire department participated in enforcing the action.
"No legal justification existed for defendants, through their agents and/or employees, to deny plaintiff his right to vote while carrying a legally-possessed and legally-carried firearm," the lawsuit states, citing a 2011 state law that prohibits most local regulation of firearms.
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