Policy debates are rarely one-sided. Even when I feel strongly that side A is obviously, clearly, self-evidently the right way to go, I know deep down that sides B and C have their points too. And as I tell my students, cases don’t get to the Supreme Court unless there are at least two sides (often more) to the issue.

But every rule has its exception, and the Indiana General Assembly periodically refuses to take an action that is self-evidently, obviously right. As Indiana Public Media has reported,

House Republicans this week voted down Democrats’ attempts to help ensure Indiana’s voting machines are more secure in the 2020 election.

More than half of Indiana’s 92 counties have voting machines without a paper backup. Election security experts say those backups are critical to electoral integrity.

The General Assembly budgeted $10 million last year to help upgrade. But that amount only covers about 10 percent of the machines that need it. And they plan to get to the rest of them by 2030.

Really? By 2030? How helpful!

Rep. Carey Hamilton (D-Indianapolis) says waiting 10 years to fully upgrade the machines is a mistake.

“Providing secure elections based on the best available technology that we know exists, that we know the Secretary [of State] could utilize in an efficient way before November elections is the right thing for us to do,” Hamilton says.

According to WFYI, Secretary of State Connie Lawson (a Republican, it should be noted) had asked the legislature for additional funds, but had been rebuffed

Lawson says she initially asked budget writers for more money.

“But they told us to get real,” Lawson says. “So, we got real and we tried to hone it down to where it was possible to get the dollars.”

Get real? “Real” is something our lawmakers know very little about–or choose to ignore.

What is “real” is the importance of public confidence in the integrity of the vote. What is “real” is the significant decline in the public’s trust in government. What is “real” is the growing cynicism and anger fed by blatant gerrymandering and multiple, visible Republican vote suppression efforts around the country.

Here in Indiana, what is also “real” is the legislature’s animus toward urban counties, and lawmakers’ continuing efforts to privilege both rural Hoosiers and the deep pockets of their contributors, constituencies that just happen to favor Republicans. (How else can we interpret efforts this session to protect coal and landlords, and to sabotage public transportation?)

Donald Trump may insist that American Intelligence operatives who continue to warn about Russian interference with our elections are part of some “deep state hoax,” but rational people know that those who work for our Intelligence agencies are far more credible than the buffoon who stands to benefit from that interference. Ensuring that our voting machines are tamper-proof, providing a paper trail, and taking other precautions against threatened interference (or for that matter, domestic game-playing and/or malfunction) is simply common sense.

Granted, common sense has never been the most obvious attribute of Indiana’s General Assembly.

If there is “another side” to providing proper election security, I don’t know what it is.


  1. Sheila,

    “What is “real” is the importance of public confidence in the integrity of the vote. What is “real” is the significant decline in the public’s trust in government. What is “real” is the growing cynicism and anger fed by blatant gerrymandering and multiple, visible Republican vote suppression efforts around the country.”

    What is also “real,” is the fact that liberalism, as practiced in the U.S., rejects REALISM. That’s why Martin Luther King warned that the real danger for us came from liberalism (and its failure to integrate with realism). But who wants to listen to an African-American?

  2. So we’re left with a White Nationalist SOCIOPATH. Great! Terrific! Wonderful! The PAST and the PRESENT are gone. Now, all we are left with to worry about is the future or better: FUTURCIDE.

  3. What is “real” is that if Indiana were a blue state, Republicans would be incensed.

  4. What is “real” is this is the state of Indiana; the buckle on the Bible Belt of Pence’s evangelicals. Pence followed Mitch Daniels’ gubernatorial playbook; he also kept some of Daniels’ staff on board who had been part of Mayor Steve Goldsmith’s administration, keeping us locked in the 1990’s and the beginning of the full deconstruction of the Republican party here. We are just now losing two Republicans who have been in office since the 1990’s and before; Senator Jim Merritt and Rep. Brian Bosma. WHAT will replace them; not who, WHAT will the Indiana House and Senate reflect during future Legislature sessions?

    “Granted, common sense has never been the most obvious attribute of Indiana’s General Assembly.”

    Will whoever replaces them bring common sense to the fore or will they bring more of the same? Not having secure elections is far more than “Inexcusable”; it is a dangerous practice keeping the state of Indiana at the top of the number of voucher students in the nation but at the bottom of the national public education list. Thereby securing Indiana’s future to maintain the status quo in all areas of state and local government.

  5. If Democrats start winning elections in Indiana, you’ll see those new voting machines appear virtually overnight.

    Another sickening and illuminating anecdote: The Diebold Corp. in Ohio makes voting machines. It is a long-time family business. The “family” is also a heavy contributor to Republican candidates. There were many “irregularities” in vote tabulation in the past two national elections. Now, why does anyone suppose that some lines of coincidence are colliding?

  6. This is not accidental. Anything that can further erode the public’s trust in government and/or “the system” is the tail wagging the dog of despotism. If elections, capitalism and society are “rigged”, what can the poor individual do but turn to the harsh, crude leader who crows “only I can fix things”.

    “We the people” need to wake up quickly….

  7. Lester,

    “This is not accidental. “We the people” need to wake up quickly….”

    It’s DOMESTIC VIRAL WARFARE. You have to fight it much like the Coronavirus. Thus, you have to first understand where GROUND ZERO is located and go from there, BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.

  8. that bumper sticker i sent Sheila ,(trump/putin 20/20 ) has been also on my tailgate of my semi trailer for a few months now,i only got one conversation about it,while working with a crew around it.. i haul machinery and heavy stuff.. hense people are around it,when im loading and unloading,in truckstops,and actully having conversation around it..i point it out,and we discuss the issues..only one hispanic,working in a loading yard made a comment,he didnt like trump,and why,he also was one up on the putin/russian move.his civic knowlege,was what all Americans should have… this sticker has many points, putins/russian aggression on our democracy,and lets do better next time we vote..the voting machine issue is also part of the spectrum..i would have to guess it was above everyones head to figure out its meaning,as far as the working class goes,(lack of knowlege,fox,(pox)and out of touch)i was working with((.im sure many in the college station area of texas,following me,or cutting me off on the highway 6 as they normaly due to trucks, may had some food for thought seeing this sticker,if texas still has a open,er mind in the more educated,?, areas… anyway,my view.)).seems no one even noticed the putin,,,on the sticker,and if they did, didnt recognize the meaning,but,it started the conversation with the above workers….like the above issue with voters trust,or why we even question the issue..if 2016 didnt wake up the masses to the possible fraud we face next election,by our own white house,as to be able to question the results of 2020.. we may be seeing a culmination of a plan to by the republicans to sideswipe the election process,and have the courts decide the outcome,again(John Roberts for president anyone?) ..wash your hands, and stay home,enjoy some political WTFs..

  9. If Indiana keeps giving that old college (Kindergarten College) try, they will finally be able to beat both Alabama and Mississippi to the bottom.

  10. Jack,

    “that bumper sticker i sent Sheila ,(trump/putin 20/20 ) has been also on my tailgate of my semi trailer for a few months now,i only got one conversation about it,while working with a crew around it.”

    What did you expect? They’ve been BRAINWASHED for at least 40 years, ever since Ronald Regan was elected President, with the help of the Reverend Jerry Falwell.

  11. The most damaging problem for rural areas (like where I live in N Indiana) is that people are willing to believe what they see and hear on Fox Spews and Limbaugh. Not only have the residents’ original biases been confirmed, but these media sources have infested them with new and even deeper biases.

    Common sense, rational decision making and a desire to know actual “facts” have almost completely disappeared from residents who are 40+ years old. Those who are 65+ are the worst. They spend far too much time watching Fox. The younger generations in this area show no interest in politics or voting because, understandably, they believe their votes won’t count. Good paying jobs with benefits left this area 20-30 years ago so there are no opportunities for them to make even the most basic living wage here. If they have chosen to stay here they are struggling to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.

    There is absolutely NO chance of any Democrat being elected to any office in this county. Former long time Democrats who are in leadership positions in the county seat’s government switched over to the Republican ticket several years ago just so they could keep their jobs.

    I am one of the extremely rare citizens in my rural county who left the Republican party to become a Democrat. There are still many people that have known me for decades who think I am still an R because most people here are Rs. The look of shock on their faces when I tell them where I stand on issues is pretty amazing. Since they never really question what they are told by the media or “our” government representatives, they are never able to come up with any facts to back up their opinions when we happen to have a conversation. They are surprised that I actually have facts to back up my opinions, but it is clear that they still intend to believe what they have been told. Facts be damned!

    Sorry about the long-winded post today. Regarding Moscow Mitch and the refusal to even allow a vote on securing the integrity of our elections, here is a link to an article about his connections to a Russian oligarch.

  12. Peggy,

    Indiana is working very hard to join Alabama and Mississippi. We just may surpass them.

  13. All a political show by the Hoosier Democrats because they have zero chance of winning a policy recommendation in this state.

    Max Blumenthal and CODEPINK called in the OAS to monitor our elections because the human exit polls deviated substantially outside the margin of error from the computer results. The typical margin of error is 4%, and the Democratic presidential election was seeing discrepancies exceeding 12% in favor of one candidate or another.

    So, who benefits from the Diebold machines, for example?

    It’s not a matter of finances…as I predicted, the first recipient of emergency cash yesterday due to the deadly coronavirus pandemic was Wall Street. The Central Bank injected $1.5 trillion to “stabilize the markets.”

    Meanwhile, the working class who are being sent home to care for their children as schools closed wait patiently for assistance. Sorry, but they’ll be waiting for a long time because we cannot possibly accept socialism in this country. After all, it’s for the weak. Socialism is only for the rich in the USA…all others are subjected to the consequences of rugged individualistic free-market capitalism where you are either a winner or loser.

    People are asking their brothers and sisters to wake up, but wake up to what exactly?

    I suggest they stay asleep so as not to get pissed when they realize just how they are getting screwed from top to bottom.

    But, by all means, keep defending the indefensible.

  14. For those interested in an excellent take on capitalism and its two political parties:

    “In 1987, UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher infamously declared that “There is no such thing as society.” Thatcher’s dictum was the justification for a wholesale attack on social programs and infrastructure and a massive transfer of wealth from the working class to the rich. For four decades, the ruling elites, above all in the United States, have engaged in social plunder. All policy has been based on the private enrichment of the oligarchs at the expense of society.

    Both political parties, Democrat and Republican, have presided over this social arson. For the past three years, as Trump has waged his assault on workers and immigrants, the Democrats proclaimed that the overriding threat to the American people came from Russia. All social opposition to the Trump regime was subordinated to the reactionary agenda of the military and intelligence agencies.

    Now we see the consequences. More than any other country, the United States has revealed a level of unpreparedness that is nothing less than criminal. On Thursday, the director of the Ohio Health Department stated that evidence of community spread indicates that one percent of residents in the state are infected, or 117,000 people. Only five individuals have actually been tested.”

  15. As a resident in NY I can focus on DC for my blue no matter who strategy. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t specific 2020 NY elections that don’t need attention, only that the overwhelming problem to be solved for NY residents are not here. We are lucky that way.

    I personally also separate local politics from national politics. Around where I live anyway the local issues and local politicians are not as evidently hostile to basic good government based on party as the national scene.

    Hoosiers have much bigger fish to fry and the time is at hand to take on all of the races that can be influenced.

    Blue no matter who is simply a necessary catalyst in fixing a very broken Republican Party.

  16. One would think that Republicans would want voter security as well. And with the large budget surplus, why not move faster toward updating the technology and security?

    Of course, the other question is this. What is our state government doing to address the spread of COVID-19? Are they going to open the purse springs to help save lives?

  17. Robin,

    Why would this administration want to have readily available tests for CorVID 19?

    With all of the testing, the true magnitude would be revealed, something that this administration does not want! It doesn’t matter that it could save further spread, or lives for that matter. Unfortunately, they won’t be able to hide all of the bodies that start stacking up because people are not being isolated thereby passing along this illness and adding to the pandemic. People are still getting on airplanes and flying all over the world from the United States, so the United States could end up being the new epicenter for spreading this virus!

    This administration wanted to stop all contributions from employees and employers to Social Security and Medicare, they said the people could save that money and use it during the crisis. Except, what would happen to those social programs? Well, they would go bankrupt! And, that’s exactly what the GOP has been pushing for, for the past century. After all, as I believe Todd mentioned, socialism is really really really really bad for the average American, but really really really really really appropriate and welcomed by the wealthy and the corporations. The hypocrisy is endless, most of the money that this country spends comes from the people who need it the most, but the majority of it goes to those who need it the least, the wealthy and corporations!

    The vision of Trump floating down the river in his innertube, basking in the light of his lies, envisioning himself as a God, a very stable genius, and the chosen one, all combined into one, takes no note of the rapids just ahead, and the falls just beyond those rapids! When a very stable genius cannot even read a Teleprompter, which I have my druthers about, disaster awaits the buffoon. I believe he was reading that Teleprompter the way it was written, Trump has a very obvious tell when he is riffing, he stuck to the script! So, I suppose the puppet master didn’t have his hand as deep as it should’ve been, LOL.

    The eventual crash of this house of cards, one that was built by racism, privilege, caste, wealth, greed, hypocrisy, and religious fanaticism, will be deafening! And, Scripture states there will be a great gnashing of teeth, because those who did not use righteous discernment will be called to account by everyone else including the God that they claim to worship.

  18. Get Real!
    “Here in Indiana, what is also “real” is the legislature’s animus toward urban counties, and lawmakers’ continuing efforts to privilege both rural Hoosiers and the deep pockets of their contributors, constituencies that just happen to favor Republicans.”

    Real is the Republicans desire for raw power, damn the citizens.

    Vernon brings up Diebold. Remember all voter machine software is proprietary. Who knows what it does. Long ago, John Koza (now of National Popular Vote) opined that it would be easy to write a voting machine program that switched a small but significant number of votes — and then erased itself. With proprietary software, they wouldn’t even have to hide it. It is forbidden by the superior position of capitalism and property rights for the mere citizens to know if their votes really are being counted correctly. We will never know if the Diebold machines gave a true count.

    Robin, these days voter security would probably only help Democrats, so Republicans aren’t that interested.

    Pete – Local won’t matter as long as you make certain the good people win the primaries. Growing up in Detroit, I knew that the real election was the August primary.

  19. Len, so far my personal strategy is to not get too attached to any particular Democrat in order to reduce any possible animus among Democrats about the primary results. I find not caring hard to do but necessary based on the bigger picture of reducing the GOP to rubble in 2020 so they are inspired to rebuild.

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