Though highly popular and very successful, the lone Republican on the Marion County Election Board voted to stop satellite voting sites by manufacturing a ballot counting issue where none had ever been reported before.
Patrick Dietrick, the lone GOP representative on the three-member board that includes Marion County Clerk Beth White, told the Indianapolis Star that he saw problems in the way ballots cast at the voting centers were counted in the 2008 election. Because of this, he says he can no longer support them though he agrees with the principle.
Deitrick to the Star's Francesca Jarosz:
"I'm a huge proponent of satellite voting, but we need to get it right," Dietrick said. "The process I observed (in 2008) was not great."
You can read the full article here.
I used the early voting sites in 2008 and in 2009 (for the Wishard Referendum) and both times I cannot say the process went any easier. I found them to be organized and running like well-oiled machines. Any complaints about the way the ballots were counted were never brought to light...at least I hadn't heard any of them, and there are plenty of sources out there that would have pounced on the Clerk's methods at the sign of the smallest problem. You would think that the sites wouldn't have been used again in 2009 if they had not worked in 2008...right?
I guess that, in an election year, the Marion County GOP is just trying to create an issue to run on versus Beth White. I mean if every election had gone like her first one then it would have been easy to see her defeated this time, but the fact is that she has been a highly effective and innovative public servant. White has done a spectacular job and has gotten even better with each successive election. I just can't figure out why this one GOP foot soldier has decided to block what clearly voters wanted.
The Star article pointed out that 53 percent of the ballots cast in person in the 2008 General Election were cast at the early voting satellite sites. The article also states that number had risen to 65 percent for the Wishard Referendum in 2009.
Now, anyone wanting to vote early will have to go to the City-County Building and go through the dehumanizing security experience to get in. I avoid the CCC like the plague because I don't want to take off my shoes and my belt and put all my belongings in a little tub. When you combine this with the fact that Indiana also possesses one of the most restrictive absentee ballot policies in the country, and the Voter ID bill is still enforced while its validity is being challenged in court you start to wonder if they really want you to vote at all. Satellite voting centers were just one way that made it easier and more convenient to vote.
Like always it seems, the Republican Party has no interest in making it easier for you to cast your ballot. The results weren't good for them with the satellite centers open, so this may just be a way to suppress Democratic turnout.
Let's hope that Dietrick can be convinced to support satellite centers before November rolls around.