One of the (multiple) controversies of the last election cycle concerned efforts in several states to make voting more difficult. Republicans in those states–perhaps most notably Florida–cut back early voting times, required government-issued IDs, “purged” voter rolls of thousands of eligible, properly registered voters, and took other measures designed to limit voting by poor and minority citizens, on the not-unreasonable assumption that most of those votes would go to Democrats.
Here in Indianapolis, the lone Republican member of the Marion County Election Board repeatedly blocked the efforts of Beth White, the County Clerk, to open satellite voting locations. The sites had been extremely popular in earlier elections; they made early voting much more convenient for people who work long hours or have difficulty getting downtown to cast a vote at the Clerk’s office. There was no legitimate reason to block satellite voting; the extra money had been raised from private sources.
Now, with a super-majority in the Indiana General Assembly and fewer impediments to wholly partisan measures, we are seeing additional efforts to limit voting. Two amendments are pending in the Indiana House today to SB 388. That bill was heard in committee last week. These amendments, sponsored by Rep. Thompson, would reduce in-person absentee voting at the clerk’s office from the current legal requirement of 29 days.
Amendment 1 reduces early voting down to ONLY 15 DAYS. Amendment 2 reduces early voting down to ONLY 10 DAYS.
Tellingly, neither amendment has been heard in committee or has been reviewed by election officials–at least publicly. Passage of either amendment would greatly increase the numbers who turn out on Election Day; we could see long lines of the sort that discouraged an estimated 200,000+ voters in Florida last November. It would also make voting much more difficult for those who need to vote absentee in-person.
There is no policy justification for this proposal. Had there been, it would have been offered in committee and subjected to public discussion and debate. This is simply an effort to tilt the playing field, an effort to sneak in under the radar with a change in the rules that is intended to suppress Democratic votes.
This sort of behavior simply adds to the growing public disgust with government at all levels.
I don’t know how, but We the People need to figure out a way to send a message to our legislators, both here in Indiana and in Washington: we didn’t elect you to play partisan power games. We didn’t elect you to obstruct the operation of government, to refuse to confirm qualified nominees because the other guys nominated them, or to place the interests of your donors above the common good. We didn’t elect you so that you can rig the system to improve your chances of holding on to your job.
Evidently, Sen. Thompson and his cohorts would prefer we dispense with this democratic nonsense and not really elect our legislators at all–they’d undoubtedly prefer the system used in autocratic countries, where 99% of the “vote” turns out to ratify the election of a single nominee.
15 thoughts on “It Can Happen Here”
Here is a copy of the bill as it currently stands. It has passed the 2nd House Reading, which means it can’t be amended anymore beyond this point in the House.
I think it can only be altered in Conference Committees at this point.
John–I hope you are right. On the other hand, who controls the conference committee?
I’m not entirely sure who controls it, but the bill would probably go back to the House of Origin, which is the Senate (hence S.B.). With Rep. Thompson being in the House of Reps., his Amendments would probably not get a lot of consideration in the committee, as they already didn’t get added. Also, the author of the bill (Sen. Pete Miller) didn’t include any language reducing the amount of days prior to an election to vote, so it’s probably not a big priority (hopefully).
I guess we will find out by April 29th.
Voter roles absolutely have not been purged! I bought my house in May, 2005. Last summer I received 5, count ’em, 5 voter info cards for people who had lived here prior to my moving in. That’s 7 years without cleaning up the voter roles. Such oppression !
I don’t get it with you folks. Once upon a time, there wasn’t even any such thing as absentee voting. We’ve had absentee voting on the books for the 30-day lead-up to the election for many decades. That wasn’t good enough. We had to make in-person voting available at the clerk’s office during the same period. We gave them that. Now you demand multiple voting centers for a 30-day period before the election. None of these measures have increased voter participation. In fact, voter participation has declined. Voter participation was greater when there were more impediments to voting. The only thing all of these extra conveniences accomplish is much higher costs for conducting elections and more opportunity for those so inclined to conduct their mischief in stealing votes. You know they do it, Sheila, and you know it’s committed primarily using minority voters within the Democratic Party. You don’t care because it helps elect more liberal Democrats to office. The fact that voter fraud dilutes the votes of the rest of us means nothing to you. I’m getting sick and tired of these false claims that those who support election integrity are trying to suppress people from voting. You know that’s total BS and it’s getting really old. You act like that their only choice is voting in person on election day. Is it that difficult to request a damn absentee ballot and mail it in before the deadline at the voter’s convenince? The long lines you complain about in Florida were in jurisdictions run by Democrats where the election administrators have proven themselves repeatedly to be the most incompetent election administrators in the country. I’ve worked the polls many an election. The only wait voters have are those who show up during that short window right before everyone is heading to work in the morning. The rest of the day is very slow. There is no reason to make anything more convenient for voters. We have a very stupid public that has been dumbed down by our horrible public school system. Most of these idiots care more about what the Kardashians are doing or following their favorite sports team than exercising their voting franchise. Most registered voters don’t even know who the hell most of the people are that are on the ballot and are unfit to even cast an informed vote.
The bill is going back to the Senate with the House’s amendments. The Senate can agree to those amendments. If not, a conference committee can be formed to come up with a compromise. It is made up of two house members appointed by the Speaker and two senate members appointed by the Pres Pro Tem. If they come up with a compromise it’s submitted to the House and Senate for final vote.
The Democrats complaints about “voter suppression” would have a lot more receptive if they: 1) would stop complaining about a photo ID requirement which about 805 of the people support; 2) help clean up the voter registration rolls.
Regarding the latter, we have so many duplicate registrations on the rolls now that in many counties we have more people registered to vote than people aged 18 and over. We need to go back to purging for non-voting. It’s the only fair way of cleaning up the rolls. if someone doesn’t vote a single time in a four year cycle, most certainly it’s because they’re dead or have moved and are voting someplace else.
Why do we even HAVE to register? Why not just show up at the polls, check in with your name and address and get a ballot? How difficult is that?
The only citizens that seem to have problem with voter fraud are the republicans that can’t seem to get it right. Remember Charlie White, the Sec of State of Indiana who was CONVICTED OF VOTER FRAUD last year. He had ID and voted in the wrong district despite HOLDING OFFICE.
There have been 102 cases of voter fraud in ’08 and ’12 in this country and if I’m not mistaken, all of them were Republicans. Google it.
You’re badly informed, ALG. The most massive case of vote fraud detected in Indiana history was the fraud perpetrated by a former Democratic state representative, Mike Marshall, who pleaded guilty along with his co-conspirators just a few months ago. The East Chicago vote fraud cases a few years ago all involved Democrats. Charlie White did not commit vote fraud. He voted once at a location he was legally permitted to vote. He would have never been convicted of any crime had the judge followed Indiana law and allowed the proper instructions of law on voter intent for voter registration purposes to be made to the jury. When you misstate the law, you shouldn’t be surprised when the jurors reach the wrong conclusion. The Election Commission, including the Democrat appointee, reached an entirely different conclusion based on a proper application of the law.
Speaks volumes of Gore vs. Bush ay?
Wondering why this wasn’t discussed during election of Bush vs. Gore..Ponder it all …
I find it interesting that when the BMV implemented STARS and phased out their SSN-based tracking program they purged several hundred thousand driver’s licenses because the SSN they had on file didn’t match Social Security’s records (i.e. somebody was using fraudulent information.) My brother was among the several thousand who were lawfully registered and got purged by accident because of a fat thumb somewhere along the line.
There has not been a SINGLE person who had their license invalidated erroneously that hasn’t been able to get it straightened out. Yet when it comes to voting people get lost in their own neighborhood. I don’t get it…
I lived in Florida in 2000 when Bush was NOT elected president. Media reports daily publicized Gore leading and voter purging for bogus reasons; hundreds of absentee ballots arrived well before election day were stored in a closet. They were “found” during the recount but we not accepted because they didn’t arrive in time. Duh! The fact that W’s brother Jeb was governor of Florida at the time of course had nothing to do with the outcome of the recount – right??????????
ha ha Gary defends a criminal.
Voting is difficult for those who work long distances from their home precinct or work two and three jobs 6 days a week. Voting centers in an extended period for people who have real barriers to voting is a convenience to all and essential to participation of some.
My own precinct voted in a too small polling location with 3-4 other precincts, slowing down the process and preventing
some from voting in the mostly Republican area. Many Republicans work for businesses which don’t permit flexibility in work times on election day so that workers are guaranteed their right to vote. Convenience and workplace realities affect voters in both parties.
Purposeful attempts to limit voting in general and certain voters in particular from voting is carrying partisanship too far.
This last election, I was registered at three different addresses and filed a claim..No response yet.
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