Yesterday’s blog addressed our abysmal lack of real journalism, especially at the local level.
As an astute Facebook commenter noted, “the legislature is in session, Israel is days away from an election, ISIS continues to murder homosexuals by throwing them off roofs, a huge report about Ferguson MO using African Americans as ATMs was released, the Affordable Care Act is awaiting a verdict, the 50th Anniversary of Selma just passed, and a US Senator is about to be indicted,”–and the lead story in the Indianapolis Star was “Stink-free Super Bowl has Southsiders asking: What about us?” Other “news” addressed by the Star concerned middle school basketball game brawls, IU basketball, Reggie Wayne, an exhibit at the Historical Society, a Daylight Savings Time story, a Pacers story, and a “review” of the Mercedes C300.
And while our local media ignores the statehouse in order to focus on trivia and infotainment, state lawmakers are busy undermining our right to vote.
Senate Bill 466 would discourage students from registering to vote in the counties where they reside, study, raise children, worship and consider themselves part of the community. It also prevents disabled Hoosier voters from allowing caregivers to assist with their absentee application.
Senate Bill 535 creates an unnecessary extra step for those voting by mail by requiring a voter registration number from the state or local clerk’s office to apply for an absentee ballot. This additional burden creates an unfunded mandate for local governments that will wind up costing our state $1.3 million annually to administer.
House Bill 1008 eliminates straight ticket voting, which will lead to longer voting times for Hoosiers, fewer choices and longer lines at the polls. In 2012 and 2014, knowledgeable voters cast more than 1.5 million straight ticket ballots. Those who wanted to vote on individual races were still able to do so.
The only reason I know about these efforts is because Trent Deckard, co-director of the Indiana Election Commission, sent out an email alert. To the best of my knowledge, no “news” reporter–either newspaper or electronic–has seen fit to bring these efforts to make voting more difficult to the public’s attention.
Fans of irony might note that Indiana lawmakers are mounting this assault on the right to vote on the 50-year anniversary of the march on Selma.
Some things, evidently, never change.