"Richardson remains despite objections

Republican State Representative Kathy Richardson will remain as Hamilton County Elections Administrator, despite a call from Democrats for her to step down. At a meeting of the Hamilton County Elections Board last week, Republican members denied a request to replace Richardson with deputy election commissioners who are provided by Indiana law and appointed by each party, to oversee elections.

“We are disappointed, but not surprised,” said Keith Clock, Hamilton Democratic Party Chairman. “They obviously don’t care about the blatant conflicts of interest caused by overseeing her own election. And they don’t care about the perception of impropriety this raises.”

Jan Ellis, lone Democratic Election Board member, sought the change arguing that Richardson’s dual roles raise questions about the integrity and the efficiency of the elections process. “Kathy, herself, sees a conflict of interest and because of it claims she avoids touching ballots and other expected tasks of an elections administrator,” said Ellis. “If Kathy’s claims are true, then we need someone who can touch the ballots and do all the things necessary to run our elections without worrying about the conflict caused by running for office herself.”

Richardson said that she was told there was no problem when she first ran for office 14 years ago. Republican member and board chairperson Tory Castor said that removing Richardson would be a disservice to voters due to her years of experience and high standing in the community.

“Being a nice person and knowledgeable about elections doesn’t hold Kathy above the law,” said Clock, who vowed he will continue to fight to end Richardson’s dual roles and for the formation of a bi-partisan elections office. “We’re asking for an advisory opinion on whether Kathy’s dual roles violate the federal Hatch and the Help America Vote Acts while also looking into legal action to stop her from violating Indiana law. This is not over yet — not by a long shot.”

Exercising your write-in vote

Bill Stant, the Indiana Green Party candidate for secretary of state, fell short in his bid to collect the nearly 30,000 signatures required in Indiana to qualify for a line on the ballot, but he’s hoping that he can garner that number of write-in votes to secure the Green Party official recognition on the ballot in the next election.

A registered financial advisor and insurance agent based near Nashville with a long career in political education and involvement, Stant would reform the voting process in Indiana to make it easier for both candidates and voters, loosening restrictions for third-party candidates to get on the ballot, offering election-day registration, and doing away with the picture-ID requirements instituted by current secretary of state Todd Rokita. Stant agrees with Democratic pundit Ann DeLaney’s assessment that Rokita’s so-called voter fraud protection is a solution in search of a problem.  Find more information on Stant at www.CitizensforStant.org.

Jack Baldwin agrees that Indiana’s election laws are archaic, especially as regards the process for qualifying third party candidates. He also holds that an uncontested race is undemocratic, so when he learned that the Democrats weren’t fielding a candidate to oppose Senator Lugar, he registered as a Democratic write-in option. Baldwin also believes that write-in candidates help test the integrity of voting machines and the voting process. After graduating from Carmel High School and Purdue’s Krannert School of Management, Baldwin spent 17 years in California, working for and with some of the Democratic party’s luminaries including former Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley, former governor Jerry Brown, and current House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and was twice nominated to run for the California state legislature.

Though running as an independent, Mark Pool has the endorsement of the Constitution Party of Indiana, whose aim is to elect candidates who will work to “limit the federal government to its delegated, enumerated, Constitutional functions and to restore American jurisprudence to its original Biblical common-law foundations.”

Pool wants voters to restore common sense in Washington by sending a common man. Pool’s website is www.MarkPoolforSenate.com.

Voting watchdogs

Many voters are freaked out about electronic voting, and if you’re not, then you need to tune into Simon Ardizzone and Russell Michaels’ documentary, Hacking Democracy, when it airs on HBO, Thursday, Nov. 2 at 9 p.m. (The film plays subsequent nights.) Hacking Democracy tells the story of Seattle grandmother Bev Harris whose suspicions about electronic touch screen voting systems leads her to unearth hundreds of reported incidents of mishandled voting information. In the process, she stumbles across the online library of the Diebold Corporation — in other words, an insiders’ guide to the company’s voting system. She uses the information to figure out how to hack into electronic voting sites and change the number of votes. Is this how Al Gore received minus 16,022 votes in the 2000 election in Volusia County, Florida? Hacking Democracy is a chilling portrayal of just how vulnerable our technology can be – a technology that counts for 80% of America’s votes today. It’s also the story of how one person — Harris — can make a difference. www.HBO.com.

In 2000 and 2004, problems plagued the polls in different parts of the country: long lines, eligible voters turned away, voter intimidation, misallocation and malfunctioning of voting equipment. Days and weeks later, a more complete picture of voter disenfranchisement emerged—but it was too late. The elections were over and the media had moved on. Starting this election, citizen journalists are being encouraged to document problems as they occur.

Video the Vote is a nationwide campaign aimed at recording the voting problems and then exposing them online.  For more information on how you can participate or view instances of voter irregularities and downright fraud, go to www.videothevote.org or watch the video calling for citizen journalists to participate in this year’s election at www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaEECHjWptU



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