GOP accused of buying votes at Indy Pride

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Stonewall Democrats, an organization of gay voters, accused Marion County Republicans of breaking election laws at the Indy Pride festival last weekend.

The Pride festival is an annual event where the gay community demonstrates its size and influence. And the political parties want to be a part of it. They know that some of that size and influence is evident on Election Day. That's why the Republicans set up the booth that is now the source of controversy. On one side there's voter registration. On the other, there’s a raffle for a 32-inch television.

"The way that they had it set up," says Aaron Schaler, president of the Indiana Stonewall Democrats, "was that if you registered to vote you got to win a chance for a television."

Shaler and the Stonewall Democrats, an organization of gay and lesbian Democrats, filed a complaint Tuesday with the Indiana Secretary of State charging that the Republicans "knowingly or unknowingly" broke the law by offering an enticement to voters.

"To us," said Schaler, "that just seems as if you're buying a vote."

24-Hour News 8 showed the complaint to Marion County GOP Chairman Kyle Walker along with photos that accompany it.  One of them shows Mayor Ballard at the booth.  Walker says the two activities were independent of one another.

"Our raffle had nothing to do with voting or voters registration," he said, "and it was simply a sign up to win a free TV."

Walker says the charges are an attempt to keep Republicans from going to the Pride festival.

"It's disappointing that when you try to participate in community events like this," he said, "that there's other folks that try to take political potshots at you."

The Indiana Democratic Party, meanwhile, is supporting the complaint.

"We want to see the appropriate punishment handed down," says Schaler.

The photos used in the complaint were copied from a GOP Twitter account.

Officials from the Secretary of State's office said the complaint is under review.

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