Tuesday, September 13, 2011

GOP Votes Thumbs Down on Satellite Voting Centers

As expected, the Marion County Election Board denied a proposal to provide satellite voting centers yesterday. Patrick Dietrick, the lone Republican on the Election Board, voted no, killing the proposal.

The question is again…why?

The Marion County Republican Party and its Chairman, Kyle Walker, has yet to answer that question. They pull out the bogeyman and play fear factor techniques. The truth of the matter is that this model has worked to perfection twice before, and it would have worked again in 2011. With no evidence of a reasonable issue with satellite voting centers, satellite supporters to speculate about an answer for this odd 2010 reversal by the GOP to pull support.

My speculation is that in 2008, in-person absentee voting outpaced mail-in absentee voting for the first time in history. 2009 was a referendum the Mayor (and many others) wanted to pass to build a new Wishard Hospital. Given the record results for many Democrats not named Jill Long Thompson in Marion County back in 2008 and the overwhelming and wide support for Wishard in 2009, I think the GOP was scared about what the results might have looked like in 2010 and is scared about what the results might be in 2011. Why would you want to make it easier to get people to vote when you want to suppress the vote?

Again, it’s speculation. I have no evidence that this is the issue, but you can’t keep crying about ballot security and cost issues when there really were no issues. Beth White’s record as clerk in these two areas is spotless. She has been honest and up front when issues have been discovered.

The only reasonable excuse for turning down satellite voting again is, as I see it, fear of losing elections. Well, guess what, as they say in the musical Hairspray, “You can’t stop the beat.” Change is coming to Marion County, but the voters are just going to have to work a little harder to cast their votes to get it.

For his part, Ed Treacy was a little more blunt than I am...as usual...in a release from the Marion County Democratic Party.

It is no surprise that Mayor Greg Ballard and his Republican Party today ignored massive public support for satellite voting rights. It is clear to tens of thousands of Marion County residents that Republicans don’t care about their right to vote. Republicans have raised two concerns: cost and security. Both have been resolved. The United Auto Workers generously offered $50,000 to cover the expenses of satellite voting locations, and the Marion County Sheriff’s Department agreed to provide the exact same protections as years past. Unfortunately, Republicans aren’t interested in solutions; they just want to stop voters from throwing them out of office.

It is pathetically apparent that Mayor Ballard is not the “aww-shucks” newbie portrayed in a recent, slick television ad, but a foot soldier in the far-right wing of the Republican establishment. While Republican insiders like Chairman Kyle Walker give orders, Greg Ballard is relegated to taking them. Today, with Ballard continuing to hide behind his political superiors, satellite voting rights were again recklessly denied to thousands of Marion County voters. Greg Ballard has claimed he isn’t political, unfortunately, it now appears he’s not even in charge.

Ouch, but well said.

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