Former Indian American Candidate Charged for Wrong Information in Election Literature

first_imgAn Indian American candidate who ran for the state Senate in Michigan’s 18th District is now facing criminal charges regarding her campaign which falsely indicates her as the incumbent.Anuja Rajendra, an Ann Arbor candidate who lost in a four-way Democratic primary race, held in August, might be sentenced to 90 days in jail if convicted, local media reported.According to media reports, Rajendra, known as a political newbie and a local business owner, has been charged for misdemeanor and the case will be heard by Judge Elizabeth Hines in Ann Arbor’s 15th District Court on Nov. 13.Michigan Election Law states if  any person who advertises or uses in any campaign material, including radio, television, newspapers, circulars, cards, or stationery, the words incumbent, re-elect, re-election, or otherwise indicates, represents, or gives the impression that a candidate for public office is the incumbent, when in fact the candidate is not the incumbent, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable as provided in section 934.The court record states the case as “wrongful use” of “incumbency designation” while indicating charges against the Indian origin woman, reported.Further, the report notes the charges were filed against Rajendra on Oct. 11 after the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office decided to charge the former candidate for the July 1 offense.However, Ed Golembiewski, the county’s elections director and chief deputy clerk told the publication he had no knowledge about any complaint against the former candidate’s campaign literature.Further, Michael Steinberg, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan said that ACLU will be defending Rajendra, the report added.“She never intended to convey that she was an incumbent and the fact that she’s being charged with a crime punishable by 90 days in jail, it’s disturbing,” Steinberg was quoted as saying by the organization.He also told that ACLU will be filing a motion to dismiss the case.“The ACLU has a serious problem with the government charging political candidates with crimes for political speech,” Steinberg said. “Many idealistic individuals stepped forward and ran for office for the first time in this election cycle with the goal of making the world a better place,” he said adding, “Nothing can have more of a chilling effect on people participating in our democracy than threatening these civic-minded individuals with imprisonment.”Both ACLU and Rajendra have not made any comment on the news yet.Anuja Rajendra, CEO of BollyFit, a business she founded in 2007, ran for the Democratic primary for the state Senate District 18 seat where she faced three other candidates: Michelle Deatrick, Jeff Irwin and Matthew Miller. Related Itemslast_img

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