Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Republicans Pretending to Support Early Voting

After stopping the establishment of satellite early voting centers in Marion County, Mayor Greg Ballard is now embracing the idea. Taking a page out of Melina Kennedy's playbook, he's staging his own rally today from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the City-County Building, and he's bringing out Governor Mitch Daniels.

Governor Daniels certainly has to be reticent to step out with Mayor Ballard. Last time, the Governor's political capital took a hit when he stood up and gave credibility to the LiteBox announcement when it's clear that there are many questions still left to be answered about the 1,100 jobs the company is hoping to provide Indy. Again, he finds himself as a political set piece to a guy he must feel is many rungs below him politically.

Greg Ballard could have made early voting much easier for Marion County residents, but he and his party would not budge on the satellite voting sites. This even after the county has twice successfully (and a third time if you count Beth White's loophole in 2010) run satellite voting sites outside of the Clerk's Office.

Suddenly, seeing the numbers, the Mayor is trying to squeeze a little juice out of the early voting orange himself, and the numbers are pretty staggering.

Yesterday morning, Amos Brown reported that over 4,300 people had cast a vote early. That's more than the 2010 General Election. That has to raise some alarm in the Ballard camp. Studies show that early voting typically favors the Democrat in a race while traditional mail-in absentee votes tend to favor the Republican.

We also know that hundreds of people have participated in the "Get on the Bus" program which has united people and shuttled them to the City-County Building to vote. The program has not been without criticism, but it's perfectly legal to give someone a ride to the polls.

Will the increased early vote mean an increased turnout on Election Day? I don't know. I do know that early voting continues in person at the Clerk's Office until Monday at noon. For more information, visit www.indy.gov/elections.

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