Clerk White Sets Agenda to Push for Satellite Early Voting
Series of meetings, public input to help shape plan for the fall
INDIANAPOLIS – Marion County Clerk Beth White outlined her plan today for building consensus to open satellite early voting locations for the general election.
At the next Election Board meeting, Clerk White has asked staff to detail their process for handling absentee ballots. This will give Board members an opportunity to ask questions and address concerns. In August, stakeholders and other interested parties will be invited to give public testimony.
“After witnessing the tremendous early voting turnout in 2008 and again in 2009, it’s clear to me that voters want the flexibility that satellite early voting locations provide,” Clerk White said. “Not moving forward with offering convenient voting options is a disservice to the public, and I pledge to bring all interested parties together to get the job done.”
Even if they cannot attend an Election Board meeting, Marion County voters can show their support by signing an online petition at www.indy.gov/election. The petition and testimony gathered at both meetings will be compiled to better inform the Board’s decision-making on opening satellite early voting locations this fall.
“I invite voters to be part of the process whether it’s by signing the online petition, attending a meeting, calling our office or sending an email,” White added. “Their support and involvement will help build the case for making our democratic process more open and accessible.”
State law requires the Clerk’s office to serve as an early voting location 29 days before an election. However, local Election Boards are permitted to open additional satellite locations only if there is unanimous agreement among all three of its members. County clerks are not permitted to unilaterally open satellite early voting sites.
Under White’s administration, satellite sites were first used in the November 2008 presidential election. Besides the Clerk’s office, voters had the option to use the J. Everett Light Career Center or the Southport Community Center. These sites proved to be very popular as 53% of early voters used one of the two satellite locations.
The bi-partisan Election Board also approved a resolution to open three satellite voting sites for the 2009 special election. Again, more voters opted to vote early in person than to vote by mail or traveling board. Of the early in person voters, more chose to vote at a satellite site, which were offered nine days before the election. Earlier this year, the Board failed to reach an agreement about opening satellite sites for the primary election.
In Indiana, there are three ways to vote absentee: vote by mail, traveling board or in-person early voting. Vote by mail and traveling board require voters to complete an application and provide a reason for not being able to vote on Election Day. However, they do not need to provide a valid, state-issued photo ID. On the other hand, any voter can choose to vote early and not indicate a reason, but they do need to show ID.
For more information or to sign the online petition, visit www.indy.gov/election.
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