The day the democracy died (If only we connect)

Posted February 8, 2008 by jsutter
Categories: County election boards, Signature gathering, South Bend

In my life as a white, middle class American, I’ve been failed by businesses, relationships and religious dogma. But I never imagined that the thing I most believed in would collapse the day my Democracy failed.

For nearly 18 months, I worked to get a minor party candidate’s name on the state ballot. To me, it represented an opportunity to put an intelligent, energetic person in public office, to the party, it meant a chance for future ballot access and to every voter, it offered another choice on Election Day.

(click on the link above to read the rest at Kathleen’s blog — Yes, do it; I didn’t quote the best part, only the beginning.)


Indiana Ballot Access History: “Worse, Worse, Worse, Worse”

Posted January 12, 2008 by jsutter
Categories: ballot access


Regarding ballot access petition deadlines in Indiana: “…Even more dramatic, the deadline was on September 1 until 1986. Also the number of signatures before 1983 was only one-fourth what it is today. The number of votes for a party to remain on was also only one-fourth of what it is today, until 1983. It was one-half of 1% for Secretary of State, to both get on and stay on, back then. Indiana only required 500 signatures before 1933. And the original deadline back in 1889 was 20 days before the general election.

“The trend has been worse, worse, worse, worse in your state.”

— Richard Winger, Ballot Access News
[with thanks to Tom Brown]

Voter ID Laws Are Set to Face a Crucial Test

Posted January 7, 2008 by jsutter
Categories: Uncategorized, Voter ID

Published: January 7, 2008

INDIANAPOLIS — In April 2006, a federal judge upheld Indiana’s law on voter identification, the strictest in the nation, saying there was no evidence that it would prevent any voter from having his ballot counted.

Valerie Williams, a Republican, says she was similarly left out.

But on Election Day last November, Valerie Williams became that evidence, according to lawyers in a case that will be argued Wednesday before the Supreme Court. After Ms. Williams grabbed her cane that day and walked into the polling station in the lobby of her retirement home to vote, as she has done in at least the last two elections, she was barred from doing so.
Read the rest of this post »

Vote suppression in Florida

Posted November 20, 2007 by jsutter
Categories: Voter ID

From TPM ( )

County election officials say the number of voters lost through Florida’s central registration system is small — 90 percent of applications get voter cards.

The result is applications from more than 43,000 Floridians hoping to become eligible voters over the past 21 months were rejected by state computer programs and kicked out for special review.

More than 14,000 initially rejected — three-quarters of them minorities — didn’t make it through that last set of hoops.

Blacks were 6 1/2 times more likely than whites to be rejected at that step.

Hispanics were more than 7 times more likely to be failed.

South Bend Greens cite de facto “poll tax”

Posted November 20, 2007 by jsutter
Categories: South Bend, Write-in candidacies

November 20, 2007

Greens cite de facto “poll tax”
Full, accurate count of all the votes will cost thousands of dollars

Green candidates for municipal offices in last week’s election today said their offer of volunteer help in securing a full, accurate count of all write-in votes was rejected by St. Joseph County Election Board chairperson James Korpal. The Greens reported that Korpal informed them that there is no legal procedure available for allowing volunteers to take part in a counting of votes.

Korpal also said there are no plans to count the more than 300 write-in votes that were cast in races that included registered write-in candidates but have yet to be attributed to a specific candidate. According to Korpal a formal recount would be necessary to address the issue of these 300 votes, likely resulting in costs of several thousand dollars that would be incurred by the Green candidates.

“The idea that we have to should have to pay thousands of dollars to get a full count amounts to a de facto poll tax on write-in voters and candidates, ” said write-in South Bend Mayoral candidate Tom Brown. “St. Joseph County didn’t have the equipment necessary to follow Indiana election law and the consequence is that write-in candidates are likely being denied more than 60% of our votes.”

Indiana election law requires that all votes be counted and attributed to all registered candidates. The St. Joseph County Election Board devised a plan requiring voters casting write-in votes to place their ballots in a separate auxiliary bin in order to allow for a hand count. Ballots that are scanned directly into the voting machines register the existence of a write-in vote, but because these ballots are placed in the sealed ballot box after being read by the voting machine, there is no way to determine what has been written-in and, therefore, no way to legally attribute these write-in votes to a specific person. Read the rest of this post »

Vote suppression by ID…

Posted November 14, 2007 by jsutter
Categories: Voter ID

  •  21.8% of black Indiana voters do not have access to a valid photo ID (compared to 15.8% of white Indiana voters – a 6 point gap).
  •  When non-registered eligible voter responses are included – the gap widens. 28.3% of eligible black voters in the State of Indiana to not have valid photo ID (compared to 16.8% of eligible voting age white Indiana residents – a gap of 11.5 percent).
  •  The study found what it termed “a curvilinear pattern (similar to an upside down U-curve)” in the relationship between age and access to valid ID – younger voters and older voters were both less likely to have valid ID compared to voters in the middle categories. 22% of voters 18-34 did not have ID, nor did 19.4% over the age of 70. (compared to 16.2% of Indiana voters age 35-54 without valid ID and 14.1% for 55-69 year olds).
  •  21% of Indiana registered voters with only a high school diploma did not have valid ID (compared to 11.5% of Indiana voters who have completed college – a gap of 9.5%).
  •  Those with valid ID are much more likely to be Republicans than those who do not have valid ID. Among registered voters with proper ID, 41.6% are registered Republicans, 32.5% are Democrats.

For more, go to

High Court to Hear Indiana Voter ID Arguments

Posted October 8, 2007 by jsutter
Categories: Voter ID

WASHINGTON (AP) — A voter seeking to cast a ballot is first told to produce a photo ID. Is that intimidation or a prudent safeguard against election fraud?

The Supreme Court said Tuesday it intends to decide, stepping into a controversy that blends race, partisan politics and the Constitution.

Officially, the justices said they would consider a challenge to the constitutionality of an Indiana law. But several other states have enacted various forms of voter ID legislation in the past five years, and the court’s ruling could affect them, as well.

“Indiana’s voter identification law is currently the most onerous in effect in the nation,” opponents alleged in legal papers filed with the court. They contended that “the restrictive conditions imposed in Indiana are a harbinger of future regulations” elsewhere, and urged the justices to rule before the 2008 elections. Read the rest of this post »