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Voting Fraud ,Polling Places, and the ID fiasco.

Voting Fraud ,Polling Places, and the ID fiasco.

Postby Happy Mom » Fri Sep 04, 2015 7:43 am

St. Joseph County Democrats attack Republican's plan to cut voting sites


Early voters begin casting their ballots
Early voting is now taking place at the County-City Building in South Bend. SBT Photo/SANTIAGO FLORES

Posted: Friday, September 4, 2015 5:00 am | Updated: 5:07 am, Fri Sep 4, 2015.
By Jeff Parrott South Bend Tribune

St. Joseph County Democrats Thursday charged Republican County Commissioner Deb Fleming with planning to eliminate possibly more than half of the county’s voting sites for next year’s elections, and said the cost savings would not justify “disenfranchising” voters.
“Many of those precincts they’re talking about changing are in areas with people of color in low-income neighborhoods,” said county Democratic Party secretary Gladys Muhammad. “We’re trying for inclusion, not exclusion.”

That sparked loud applause from a group of about 100 people, many of them Democratic elected officials, gathered in the lobby of the County-City Building for a party-organized news conference. The event came moments after Fleming presented the plan to the county Election Board at its regular meeting upstairs.
“First of all, it’s not my idea,” Fleming said when contacted later for comment.
She said she has merely jumped on board an idea proposed by Democratic clerk Terri Rethlake to explore the cost savings of reducing the number of precincts, made possible by a new Indiana law that took effect July 1. The law allows, but does not require, counties to increase from 1,200 to 2,000 the number of registered voters living in each precinct.
But Rethlake said she merely wanted to see how increasing the number of voters per precinct would affect the number of precincts.
“It’s not my idea, nor was it ever my idea, to eliminate 90 polling places,” Rethlake said. “This was a shocker to all of us that that many precincts would be eliminated.”
The idea follows a proposal two years ago to establish "vote centers" that would have replaced the county's 159 precinct-based voting sites with 40 sites where anyone could vote, regardless of where they live. The board rejected it in December, citing cost and voter access concerns.
Catherine Fanello, Democratic Election Board co-chair, said this July's law change allowing expanded precincts was intended to benefit fast-growing Hamilton County. If a precinct reorganization takes place in St. Joseph County, it shouldn’t be rushed through with an upcoming presidential election, she said.
"We have to make sure that those who are affected, that their vote is not suppressed in any way," Fanello said.
Fleming said she didn’t know anything about the idea until a map appeared on her desk. It had been developed by county GIS mapping system manager John Carlson, at Rethlake’s request.
Fleming said she immediately rejected the initial map because it changed council and commissioner district boundaries, and she didn’t want the new map to appear politically motivated. She said she then directed Carlson to develop another version which retained existing council and commissioner district boundaries, and he did so.
Rethlake said she never would have supported making any changes, even if they were limited to combining some precincts, next year because it’s a presidential election when voter turnout will be so much higher than in other years.
Fleming denied she is proposing eliminating 90 voting sites. She said reducing the number of precincts probably would require eliminating some sites, but because many polling places host multiple precincts, she won’t know how many sites would be eliminated until after the Election Board gives its input.
Fleming has said the plan could save the county about $150,000 next year. A Tribune reporter asked her how she could have arrived at that figure if she hadn’t projected eliminating a specific number of voting sites, which is the only way costs could be reduced.
She said the $150,000 figure came from the Voter Registration office, when she asked it to project the cost savings of staffing voting sites for 90 fewer precincts. She said she wasn’t certain, but the Voter Registration office might have based the cost savings projection on eliminating 90 voting sites rather than having 90 fewer precincts.
When told of Fleming’s response, county Democratic Chairman Jason Critchlow said he wondered whether she was being “intentionally” confusing. He accused her of trying to push the plan through quietly. She had the county’s GIS department create at least five versions of a precinct reorganization map before presenting a proposal to the Election Board Thursday for the first time, he said.
In order to submit the plan for state approval in time for next year, Fleming said commissioners must hurry. They will vote on it at their next meeting Sept. 15, giving the Election Board just seven business days to offer input. The Election Board next meets on Sept. 14, and Fanello said the board will ask commissioners for more time.
“This has clearly not been done in a transparent manner,” Critchlow said.
By contrast, he said the Election Board conducted a deliberate and open review of the failed Vote Center plan. ... 389a8.html
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Re: Voting Fraud ,Polling Places, and the ID fiasco.

Postby raycyrx » Fri Sep 04, 2015 1:57 pm

That should teach her to agree with an idea first presented by a Democrat.
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