Monday, September 12, 2011
The $50,000 Question Indy's GOP Refuses to Answer
Last week, Marion County Clerk Beth White announced a gift from the United Auto Workers that would provide $50,000 to have two satellite voting centers in Marion County. The three-member election board considers the proposal today, but it isn't expected to pass unanimously...and it must.
Southport Mayor Robin Thoman, a Republican, and Washington Township Trustee Frank Short, a Democrat, agreed to provide the space for the centers. It would have been a real election under Indiana law. The Election Board's lawyer even gave the plan the go ahead.
The Marion County GOP, who participates in the election process and would have been involved in running the satellite centers, has done nothing but criticize the plan and, by extension, make it more difficult for people to vote. Republican Patrick Deitrick, the GOP's lone Election Board member, clearly has no mind of his own on the issue and will do GOP Chair Kyle Walker's bidding. Expect a no vote. That's still a shock to me.
You see, it's not like this is a new thing. Marion County has run two elections with satellite centers, the General Election in 2008 and the Special Referendum in 2009, without any complaints of voter fraud, ballot security, or other issues. In 2010, the GOP balked, and in 2011, they are balking again.
It's not really about the UAW. It's about the Marion County GOP. Why on Earth would the decide to suddenly pull their support for something that they once supported and that even Mayor Ballard championed? Do they think Beth White is going to hand the keys to the UAW to run the election? HECK NO. It's all about politics. The very thing that the GOP's own Mayor Ballard says he's not very good at.
Well, as Marion County Democratic Party Chair Ed Treacy called for last week, it's time for Mayor Ballard to put his words into action. If he isn't about politics, he needs to sign off on the plan to provide two satellite voting centers in Marion County and tell the GOP representative on the Election Board to change his no vote to yes.
If the GOP is so concerned, then they should monitor the heck out of it. The UAW didn't say it was buying off the clerk and the inspectors. It is just providing the cash to run an election. It's much the same way that schools are asked to foot the bill for referendum votes.
Those on the other side against the plan have spent more time criticizing the donor and questioning the process, but where were those voices when the satellite centers were open and operating? There were no voices speaking out then. The Mayor and the Marion County GOP were on board.
So, what changed? That's the $50,000 question. So far, Kyle Walker and his "no politics" Mayor has no answer.