Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Delaware County GOP wants to disenfranchise Dem voters

In a sense, Muncie is like nearly every other city and town in our state this active primary season. Folks are registering to vote in record numbers. They're excited about their voice being heard. After all, for the first time in 40 years, our primary votes here in the Hoosier state actually carry some weight. People are rightfully excited and are flocking to join the democratic process this year.

For the last four months, the media has reported on the record number of new voter registrations, the huge interest in participation, and the large turnouts in every primary in every state this season. So states such as Indiana, and cities such as Muncie, have had ample time to prepare for this influx. Most states and municipalities have done an outstanding job of this, preparing extra ballots, adding staff as necessary, whatever it takes. That's where Muncie becomes nearly unlike everyone else - GOP members of the Delaware County’s Election Board are saying that registrations ,filed on time, will not count because there are too many of them and they are short staffed. This is nothing short of voter disenfranchisement and must not be accepted!

The Election Board office there is staffed by three Democratic appointees and two appointees of the Republican Party, which has declined to fill a third vacant position since 2006. Delaware County GOP Chair Kaye Whitehead stated that there "hadn’t been a need for another worker until the office was flooded with applications on Monday, the final day to register to vote in the May primary". Perhaps if Whitehead had found the time to pick up a newspaper, watch tv news, or surf the web over the last few months, she would have realized that some action was needed on her part.

But, then again, all of these record voter registrations and voter turnouts have been created by, and of benefit to, the Democratic contenders for president. So Whitehead has no reason to grease the wheels on the machine that she is partially in charge of. After all, by doing the right thing and serving the taxpayers of Delaware County, she only makes her own job more difficult come November. Despite the demographics of the area, Muncie is a college town. And college students have been voting for Barack Obama in a big way this election cycle. I can understand Whitehead's fear of allowing these youths to add their voice to the choir. But she has a greater responsibility to the populace that outweighs her partisan views. It's nothing short of a disgrace that she would attempt to deny their votes for the sake of her political party.

Phil Nichols, a Democratic member and president of Delaware County’s Election Board, has called for an an emergency meeting at 1 p.m. Wednesday in the Delaware County Building to discuss how to handle the flood of voter registration applications. Ball State students will be in attendance as well as 6th District Congressional Candidate Barry Welsh. If you are a BSU student or local citizen, I strongly encourage you to attend this event and make your voice heard.

No comments: