Sign Here, Please: McCain Short In CD04, May Not Make Indiana Ballot

Elephant Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain will be here tomorrow, but he might not be on the Indiana ballot in May. Blue Indiana creates and reports this story:

For those of you who have been following the site over the last few days, you are probably well aware that I have been covering the gubernatorial signature battle, as both of our candidates sought to get their 500 signatures in each congressional district, and thus earn a place on the statewide ballot for the May primary. As part of that process, I've been requesting daily updates from the Indiana Election Division, which keeps a rolling tally of the number of signatures that each candidate has collected.

Now, I'm originally from the 4th District, so curiosity led me to check out who had made it (and by how much) in my old stomping ground. To my surprise, I noticed that John McCain -- the presumptive front-runner for the GOP nomination -- was just a little short in a few districts, including my precious 4th, despite the fact that Attorney General Steve Carter had already turned in their petitions. I made a few phone calls, and one by one I found out that the McCain camp had got the job done across the state.

Except in the 4th District.

In the 4th District, they are short.

By my latest count, they turned in 496 signatures for the 4th, and the latest IED report for this morning shows them with only 491.

Lots of big-name Republicans, including the Guv and Attorney General Steve Carter, turned in McCain's petitions as though they were complete. They were not. When caught, they changed their story to say that there are still petitions coming in, which is interesting, since they were due for certification last Tuesday.

Are we really to believe that after nine days, some county clerk is going to find a few stragglers stuck to the back of some absentee ballot applications?

They really dropped the ball on this one. At best, it's sloppiness. At worst, it's incompetence.

Of course, the national chattering class is chewing on this McCain-related story today. Sex sells, baby.

And They're Off: Candidates Make Their May Primary Bids Official

Pencil Today is the first day candidates can file for the May primary. TDW received press releases stating that André Carson and John McGoff are officially and respectively entered into contests in the Seventh and Fifth Congressional Districts.

McGoff, who is challenging the eternally underwhelming Dan Burton, held a Statehouse press conference to reaffirm his bid.

"Republican John McGoff's challenge to Congressman Dan Burton is now official.

"Secretary of State Todd Rokita joined McGoff at a statehouse news conference as he filed the paperwork necessary to challenge Burton in the May Republican Primary.

"Mcgoff launched his campaign in a similar statehouse appearance last year. He says that 5th district voters have lost their trust in Congress.

"'As I return today to officially place my name on the ballot, I am more confident than ever that the citizens of indiana are ready for a congressman who they can trust and who will listen to their concerns," said John McGoff (R).

"Dan Burton is in his 13th term in Congress."

Can anyone else figure out why Rokita was hanging out at a political event instead of performing his official duties?

Back on topic: It's not often that the blogmistress encourages the cutting and pasting of press releases, but if you or a candidate you support filed today, please feel free to post about it in the comments section.

Nine Votes That Will Count: Photo ID Case Heads To Supreme Court

GavelUPDATE: The Associated Press provides this post-argument update. The best quote:

"Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher said the vast majority of Indiana voters easily comply with the law. 'You're talking about an infinitesimal portion of the electorate that could be burdened,' Fisher said under sharp questioning from Justice David Souter."

Yeah, so what if we burden a few senior citizens, veterans, minorities or students? It's just their fundamental right to vote we're talking about. With liberty and justice for almost everyone. That's how we roll in Indiana.

EARLIER: Happy Voter ID Case Going Before The United States Supreme Court Day!

"The U.S. Supreme Court is to hear arguments today on the constitutionality of an Indiana law that requires Hoosiers to show government-issued photo identification, such as a driver's license, before voting.

"The law, passed in 2005, has fueled a partisan debate over voting rights and access to the ballot. And it has angered some voters.

"Phyllis Beyl, a Sellersburg retiree who doesn't drive and has no substitute photo ID, said she'll vote by absentee ballot -- which is exempt from the ID rule -- to avoid having to conform to something she views as making it more difficult for people like her to vote.

"'I've got people who'll take me to the license branch' to get a photo ID, said Beyl, a Democrat. 'But I don't want to. Why should I have to?'

"Conservative groups that support the law say it helps combat voter fraud and maintain the integrity of the electoral process. But civil-rights organizations, five current and former secretaries of state who are Democrats, and advocates for senior citizens have called the measure a veiled effort to reduce turnout among poor, elderly and minority voters."

Slow And Steady: Don't Rush Vote Centers Into Place Next Year

Vote The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette likes the concept of all-in-one vote centers but urges election officials, including Secretary of State Todd Rokita, not to go nuts with the idea next year:

"The program's success in Wayne and Tippecanoe counties suggests Hoosier voters are ready to accept the change, particularly with regard to absentee voting. The pilot program shows voters are eager to participate when the process is made more accessible.

"The vote centers could be in place statewide next year, according to Rokita's office, though the General Assembly will determine the timetable.

"A note of caution: 2008 is a presidential election year. Interest always is great when voters choose a president; it will most likely be even greater next year after two hotly contested presidential primaries. The state should be careful not to overextend itself in helping counties roll out the vote centers, but the case for easier, more accessible voting sites is a goal worth pursuing."

Survey Says: Poor, Black And Elderly People Less Likely To Have ID

VotemontageWait, you mean there might be a reason why white Republicans like Secretary of State Todd Rokita have led the crusade for strict voter identification laws across the nation despite an overwhelming lack of evidence that such laws are needed? Huh.

"Poor, black and elderly people tend to be less likely than others to have the photo identification required to vote under Indiana law, opponents of the law said Tuesday, citing a survey of prospective voters.

"Democrats, too, are less likely to have the right ID, said the foes who filed a legal brief Tuesday in an effort to persuade the Supreme Court the law is unfair and should be overturned. The court will hear arguments in the case early next year, in the middle of the 2008 election campaign.

"The state has defended the law as a way to combat voter fraud. Opponents say it unfairly targets poor and minority voters, without any evidence that voter cheating is a problem in Indiana.

"'The alleged ill that this is out to correct doesn't really exist,' said Justin Levitt, counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law, which filed a brief arguing against the law. 'There's no real justification for putting these people through this.'

"The survey, led by a researcher at the University of Washington, found that 86 percent of white eligible voters had current, valid photo identification, compared to 73 percent of black eligible voters.

"While many people have driver's licenses or other identification, the study confirmed that many others don't, said researcher Matt A. Barreto.

"'It is a very significant issue and one that most people take for granted,' he said.

"Politics was also found to be a factor. About 41 percent of those who have valid identification said they were Republican, while 32 percent were Democrats. Of those without ID, 34 percent were Republican and 38 percent were Democrats.

"Among registered voters in Indiana, nearly 91 percent of those between 55 and 69 had a current ID, compared with about 80 percent of people 18-34 and about 84 percent of those over the age of 70. About 88 percent of registered voters making at least $40,000 a year had current ID, compared with about 82 percent of those making less than $40,000 a year, the study found."

Translation, Please? Rokita May Or May Not Have Foot In Mouth Again

QuizzicalduckA few more apologies from the blogmistress for the dearth of updates today. She'll have a lengthy mayoral overview posted a little later -- along with other assorted political goodies.

But for now, a prize to the reader who can figure out what, exactly, Secretary of State Todd Rokita was trying to say in this statement about yesterday's election. (Hat tip, kind reader.)

"But what every election has to be is fair and accurate, and if a polling place opens a couple minutes late, well, you know what? It's fair if it just didn't open late for black people. It's fair if it just didn't open late for women. And the point is that everyone had an equal opportunity to vote across the board and there was no discrimination and I don’t see any of that here in Tippecanoe County."

For as long as it's available, you can watch the live interview here.

On The Job? Steve Carter Snags Air Time To Prevent Drunk Driving

Questionmark1Here's a strange little factoid from this week's Indiana Legislative Insight, to which you really should subscribe if you don't already:

"Attorney General Steve Carter (R) launches a campaign aimed at preventing drunk driving and underage drinking with three new 30-second radio public service announcements that will air in rotation on stations throughout the state. The spots are timed to coincide with the Fall season, and will air 2,300 times between now and the end of November."

Next thing you know, he'll be jetting off to distant lands to present watercolors to foreign dignitaries.

All In The Family: Ted Rokita Tapped For Spot On Dentistry Board

Images3 Given that Secretary of State Todd Rokita's a statewide elected Republican with plenty of political ambition, wouldn't you think he could secure slightly more impressive official appointments for his family members?

State Board of Dentistry

The board licenses and regulates dentistry and its related professions in Indiana. Board members review applications from persons desiring to begin the practice of dentistry in the state and schedule examinations for applicants. The board also issues permits to administer general anesthesia or sedation.

Membership: 11 gubernatorial appointments

Governor's appointments:

  • Steven Hollar (Warsaw), dentist, Dental Health, P.C.
  • Ted Rokita (Munster), private practice dentist
  • Gary Haller (Huntingburg), partner and dentist, Five Star Family Dental Clinic
  • Charles Heape (Sullivan), private practice dentist
  • Phil Catey (Gas City), owner and dentist, Catey Dentistry
  • Laverne Whitmore (Indianapolis), dental hygienist. Reappointment.

Terms expire July 1, 2011.

Right Or Wrong? Todd Rokita Endorses Bedford Mayoral Candidate

ApprovedQuestion du jour: Should Indiana's chief election administrator really be endorsing candidates like this? (Hat tip, kind reader, for forwarding along the story.)

"Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita made an appearance before the Bedford Kiwanis club early yesterday afternoon to discuss changes in Indiana electoral procedure, and also made a separate official endorsement in the Bedford mayoral race. knows what Bedford's competition is.

"Secretary Rokita told WBIW News that he is pleased Indiana is moving toward including more technology in the state electoral process, but assures Hoosiers, their vote is safe and will be counted. knows what Bedford's competition is.

"While he was in town, Rokita also took the time to make an endorsement of Republican Jean Williams for the mayoral race during a separate interview, saying Williams understands economic growth is key, and that she knows what Bedford's competition is.

"Independent mayoral candidate Shawna Girgis told WBIW News in response she is only interested in the endorsement of the voter, and that the people endorsing Williams can't vote in Bedford anyway. Democratic candidate Alan 'Big Al' Craig could not be reached for comment by press time."

Voter ID: Screw The Elderly, But Minorities Die Before They Grow Old

QuestionguyFor those of you out there following the voter identification issue, wrap your arms around this logic, courtesy of the BRAD BLOG:

"It's probably true that among those who don't [have Photo ID], it's primarily elderly persons. And that's a shame. Of course...our society is such that minorities don't become elderly. The way that white people do. They die first."

- John Tanner, Chief of Civil Rights Section, Voting Unit, U.S. DoJ

So, basically, it's cool to inconvenience the elderly, but it's not illegal to do so because protected minority voters don't have a chance to become elderly: They just die.

Not to belabor the point, but this guy is in charge of voting rights for the U.S. Department of Justice? Holy judicial insanity, Batman.

Don't believe the quote? Watch it for yourself:

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