I ran for Congress in the 2012 cycle after announcing my interest in the race to replace congressman Joe Donnelly (now former U.S. senator). I ran as a Democrat and my campaign manager Greg Brown served as a bodyguard for Michael Jackson. However, the district party leadership (Butch Morgan and his allies) was against me because I pushed for disability access at the district headquarters in South Bend. The whole event was featured on ABC 57 in South Bend:
I also filed a formal Indiana Civil Rights Commission complaint regarding the Democratic HQ in South Bend and first received a 6-0 unanimous decision in my favor. However, when the Democratic state chair showed up to a hearing arguing a First Amendment right to reject any disabled person and exclude them from the HQ, the ICRC caved and voted for the Indiana Democratic Party, 4-0. Straw v. Indiana Democratic Party, 93A02-1406-EX-00399 (Ind. 3/9/2014)(denied on appeal)
I switched parties and became an Indiana delegate to the Green Party of the USA national convention in 2012. I had some issues with the Green Party and disability access, but nothing so serious as what the Democrats presented. The Indiana Democratic Party had exclusion of people with mental disabilities from meetings in their state rules for decades. I was institutionally not welcome in that party. My local county chair even refused to slate me to run for county judge in 2010 because of my mental disability. They decided NO CANDIDATE was better than having me as a candidate.
Honestly, when the Democratic 2nd District Chair Butch Morgan was convicted of a felony for leading a forgery ring to get signatures for Obama and Clinton in 2008, I felt vindicated as he went to jail.
The state rules (Rule 10) continued to discriminate and I finally got that to change when I met one of the candidates for DNC Chair. She helped me get the word out that Indiana was not following national Democratic Party principles by excluding mentally disabled people from meetings. Rule 10 was modified after my appeal to every single DNC member.
As a Green Party candidate for U.S. House, I was stuck with a signature requirement of nearly 4,000 signatures in 2012. My broken bones would simply not allow me to do that. I reviewed Indiana law and found that any small party candidate needed merely to get 2% of the votes in the last election for Indiana Secretary of State. The Republican winner of the 2010 Indiana Secretary of State election had to resign for election-related fraud. The replacement was appointed by Gov. Mitch Daniels. I took this to mean that the last election only had one voter (Gov. Daniels) and the total turnout was 1 vote.
Given this, my small party signature requirement should have been 2% of 1 vote, rounded down per the Indiana Code. IC 3-8-6-1; IC 3-8-6-3. NB: the Republican legislature later made it easier for disabled people to sign by allowing someone to help them sign. This should allow gathering signatures of disabled people with online petitions. IC 3-8-6-6.
On principle, I filed my petition for ballot access with the support of the Indiana Green Party with one signature on it, my own. The same Indiana Secretary of State, Connie Lawson, who only received one vote from the governor when she was appointed rejected my petition to be on the ballot with one signature.
Lawson has little concern for the law or the Indiana Constitution. The Indiana Constitution limits a secretary of state to 8 years in office. Lawson was appointed after Charlie White was forced out of the secretary of state office.
Lawson was appointed on March 16, 2012, just 3 days before my birthday. It does say something about the voters in Indiana that they would give over 57% of the vote to someone so dishonest as Charlie White, probably because Vop Osili is black. People said rude, racist things to Mr. Osili in Northern Indiana and when I heard about it after the Elkhart County Fair Parade, I asked Mr. Osili to sign the back of my bar membership card, which he did.
Connie Lawson was appointed and that means her second election will require her to resign because she will serve more than 8 years out of 12 (the constitutional limit in Indiana) and this will allow the governor to engage in another appointment, creating the exact same conditions again that I sought to use as a single-vote election by the governor.
Republicans have no problem with single-vote elections of people from their own party because Republicans don’t believe in elections. In Indiana, the voters also have no ability to propose amendments to the Indiana Constitution, but have to wait for both Republican state houses to take action. All power in Indiana is concentrated in government bodies completely under the control of the Republican Party. The Republicans in that state have so much power, they attempt to corrupt the Democratic Party. Single party control tastes, sounds, and looks like tyranny, like Soviet politics.
Despite the fact that I was a founder of Indiana College Democrats, served as a Democratic precinct chair in Bloomington, was a Democratic state delegate, helped many Democratic candidates as a lawyer and manager, wrote columns and promoted a petition for Democratic policies, I will never be a Democrat in Indiana again. I don’t trust them and they have discriminated against me both in my broken legs and pelvis (South Bend HQ) as well as my mental disabilities (state party Rule 10). It took the national DNC to get Indiana to strip decades of discrimination from the state party rules. I don’t need that kind of hassle and constant fear of someone stabbing me in the back. Truly, after all my efforts to build that party in Indiana, I was stabbed in the back.
Other states have Democratic Party officials whom I respect, but Indiana is a problem.