Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Satellite, Early Voting: A Fight Republicans Should Walk Away From

Today the Marion County Clerk will be a hearing on the establishment of early, satellite voting sites for the Fall municipal election.   Unlike voting centers which only operate on Election Day and which are an alternative to the precinct based voting locations, early voting sites allow people to vote early at a couple locations, generally one on the northside and southside of Indianapolis.  Regardless of whether satellite voting locations are established, people will still be able to vote early at the City-County Building.

While I'm a big fan of voting centers, I have mixed views on early voting.  I think there's something to be said about people coming together on one day - Election Day - to cast a ballot.  Republicans are correct that staffing the two satellite locations is expensive per vote and that overall turnout really isn't marginally increased.   There is also the political calculation that Republican party leaders make that, you make voting easier, the more Democrats will vote.  Lower turnout tends to favor Republicans.

But is this a fight we Republicans want to have?  Absolutely not.  People in this day and age, expect convenience.  It's suicidal for Republicans to be on the side of making voting more difficult, especially when we're talking a modest proposal of two satellite voting locations.  The locations have to be approved by a bipartisan, unanimous vote of the Election Board.  There could easily be a deal cut that the Democrats pick one location while Republicans pick another.

The two satellite locations will cost about $50,000.  In 2008, 39,000 people voted early.  While the numbers in 2011, will be much less - the cost of $50,000 is still a mere pittance compared to other wasteful spending measures this administration has engaged in. For example, according to the Department of Public Works, 543 of the Mayor's Drive Safely signs cost us $43,466.45, or $80 apiece. This supposed sudden concern about wasting taxpayer money by this administration is a little hard to swallow.

This is a fight Republicans should walk away from.  All they're doing is handing the Democrats an issue to bludgeon them with in the Fall.   People want and expect convenience in voting.  Let's not stand in the way of a modest proposal.

2 comments:

bill levin said...

SOME ONE SUGGESTED WE GET CARDS PRINTED UP OF THOSE $80 SIGNS. SEE IF BALLARD WILL AUTOGRAPH THEM. - i bet that thought made ya giggle.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Bill, I talked to a sign guy, told him the type of sign they are (a sort of hard plastic.) He said you could have had the signs hand-painted for $10 a piece and that $80 is utterly ridiculous. He said $5 apiece would have been a reasonable price.