CROWN POINT | Katy Dowling got to have her day in court, but she wasn't too pleased with the outcome Saturday morning, she said.
Dowling, of St. John, complained to the Lake County election board that she had received what she thought were robocalls from Bill Fine, a Republican running for the 12th District Indiana House seat in Tuesday's election against incumbent Democrat Mara Candelaria-Reardon.
Robocalls are automated, recorded calls often used during campaigns. They are illegal in Indiana, unless they begin with a live operator leading into the recorded message allowing the receiver to consent to continuing the call.
After much discussion, the board voted 3-2, split along party lines, to notify Fine's campaign that a complaint had been received, said the board's Republican attorney, Jeff Gunning.
"I had my due process. They let me make the complaint," Dowling said after the meeting.
She contended she received two robocalls from Fine's campaign.
"I'm not sure if the operators were live. I know I did not give my consent," she said, adding she also has filed a complaint with the Indiana attorney general's office.
Gunning said that may be the better place to file a complaint over such calls. He advised the election board that he did not believe it had jurisdiction over the matter and that the complaint should go to the attorney general's office because of the method of delivery.
Fine said he talked to the company he hired to make the calls and was assured they were legal.
"It's a fairly contentious political campaign, and it's very easy for a friend of my opponent to claim they got a robocall. I don't know what to believe. The company doing calls for me assured me they were in compliance of the law and everything was done according to legal requirements," said Fine, adding that portion of the campaign is over.
Candelaria-Reardon said she received reports of robocalls made by her opponent from other constituents.
"Just because it is done, doesn't make it any more legal," she said, adding she directed those people to file complaints with the attorney general's office.