Statement from Marion County Clerk Beth White Regarding Senate Bill 621
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​April 2, 2013

Media Contact:

​Angie Nussmeyer, (317) 327-5099
Statement from Marion County Clerk Beth White Regarding Senate Bill 621

Legislation would create two sets of rules for counting absentee ballots

INDIANAPOLIS – Marion County Clerk Beth White issued the following statement today, after the Government and Regulatory Reform Committee in the Indiana House passed an amended version of Senate Bill 621:
“Today I testified in the Statehouse to add my voice to the growing chorus of elected officials and opinion leaders in opposition to Senate Bill 621, which will irreparably harm our representative government and further consolidate the power of one elected official. Though the amended bill passed out of committee removed the provision eliminating county’s four at-large councillors, it gives the Indianapolis Mayor unprecedented power and removes local decision-making in our elections.
“Three counties – Lake, Allen and Marion – were singled out in the current version of the proposed law and will be required to only centrally count absentee ballots. Indiana’s other 89 counties still retain the flexibility to decide whether or not to send ballots to their precinct to be counted or count them at a central site. In effect, county election officials will be operating under two sets of rules.
“Marion County currently sends its absentee ballots – those cast before Election Day by mail, traveling board or in the Clerk’s Office – to the voter’s precinct where appointed poll workers process them. This method has worked well for years, and has ensured timely reporting and comprehensive results on Election Day. The ‘central count’ requirement would be a dramatic departure for Marion County, and the end result is more people, more cost and more delay.
“I understand most voters aren’t interested in election administration; they simply want to cast their ballot knowing the election is conducted fairly and accurately. This legislation will take away Marion County’s ability to manage each election in the most cost effective manner. Since becoming Clerk in 2007, my team has run more elections than any other in recent memory. We’ve used the flexibility permitted by state law to provide a positive voting experience and remain budget conscious.
“I fear SB621 is the beginning of a slippery slope that erodes local control, not just in running elections but also in our representative government. I encourage you to contact your State Representative and tell them to vote ‘NO’ on Senate Bill 621.”
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