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Monday, August 03, 2015
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Friday, July 31, 2015 12:56 PM
By MATTHEW BUTLER  
    
INDIANAPOLIS – Since last November, discussion of improving Indiana’s embarrassing voter turnout rate of 28%, the lowest in the nation, has touched on all the predictable topics: Voter apathy, the early voting window, easing absentee voting restrictions, whether district lines deter competition, etc. Though not as hot button as in previous years, Indiana’s voter ID law still remains in the crosshairs and talking points of Democrats. To them it’s unnecessarily restrictive and intentionally so.
    
“Time after time after time, Indiana has blazed the modern trail of voter suppression,” Indiana Democratic Chairman John Zody told HPI on the topic of improving voter participation.The state’s 2005 voter ID law was among the first two examples he mentioned. Hoosier Democrats’ efforts, however, would be better served focusing on other election law reforms and improving their candidates and campaigns.
    
To vote in person, a Hoosier must present an ID issued by either Indiana or the U.S. government. It must match their registration record and have a photo and expiration date. If a voter cannot or refuses to present such an ID, they are still allowed to cast a provisional ballot. However, in order for their ballot to be counted, the voter must present themselves to the election board by noon on the following Monday and either present a valid ID or sign an affidavit swearing they were unable to procure one because of indigence or religious objections to being photographed. When the voter ID law was passed, Indiana created a free, six-year ID card specifically for voting if one does not have a driver’s license. To secure any Indiana-issued ID for the first time requires proving your identity, social security number, lawful status within the United States, and Indiana residency. Democrats argue voter fraud, especially voter impersonation, is extremely episodic and largely a myth.
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  • By BRIAN A. HOWEY
    INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Republican Chairman Jeff Cardwell journeyed to El Salvador last February as an election observer and was moved when he saw thousands of folks spend days walking to polling places, waiting hours in line to vote. When the election concluded the International Institute for Democratic and Electoral Assistance reported just under 50 percent voted. He returned to the Hoosier state, where in the 2014 elections just 27.7 percent voted, one of the worst rates in the nation. A New York Times analysis of that election using different criterion rated Indiana 50th. “Everybody is concerned about low voter turnout,” Cardwell said. “It’s not a political issue, it’s an American issue. We have a great country and we need to increase voter turnout.” The concept of stewardship means leaving things in better shape than you found them. For many in the current generation of political and policy leadership in Indiana, they’ve witnessed a steep decline in voter participation. It is time that Indiana’s public servants, from Gov. Mike Pence down to the 150 members of the General Assembly, address our democracy in atrophy. 
  • By CRAIG DUNN
    KOKOMO – As a Republican Party County chairman, I’ve come to learn a thing or two about voter turnout. Don’t count on me to be one of those who sees low voter turnout as a sign of the apocalypse or some nefarious plot by the vast right wing conspiracy to unjustly win elections through some sophisticated method of voter suppression. Low voter turnout occurs because of voter apathy, plain and simple. The general malaise is not confined to polling places on Election Day. We can see evidence of this apathy in our churches, service clubs and PTAs. You can see the apathy even in the hallowed shrines of Indiana high school basketball, where cavernous arenas remain partially filled on game nights. The public has become increasingly fickle and demanding with where and how they will allocate their time and energy. I can remember running for delegate to the Indiana Republican State Convention in 1972 as an 18-year-old. The district I was running in had nine candidates chasing two delegate positions. As a county chairman I quickly learned that those days were dead and gone. 
  • BY: MARK SOUDER
    FORT WAYNE – In 1970, Lake County was known for having high voter turnout when needed. As in Chicago, it wasn’t even required that you were still alive in order to cast your vote. Others voted early and often. It was a mess. Other major cities in Indiana, and tightly controlled rural counties, had been known to cheat as well, but nothing, even had all allegation totals been combined, approached the voter fraud in Lake. In 1970 U.S. Sen. Vance Hartke was running for reelection, opposed by Congressman Richard Roudebush. Former mayor Hartke had proven to be a feisty and scrappy competitor, as well as lucky.  Hartke was the kind of candidate the Region liked, a gritty, old-style, campaigner who delivered.  Democrat Boss John Krupa was the strong-arm political man who corralled the disparate parts of the machine, East Chicago, Gary, Hammond, etc., and hammered them into the essential foundation of Indiana Democrat and union power.  A court had ordered that a certified Republican observer could go into a polling place and check the vote count on the machine at any point during the day. The Democrats, of course, could do the same. They usually did anyway. The Republicans created precinct groupings. Each had an assigned car that included an attorney with the appropriate legal certification, a steelworker to drive, and two college students. 
  • By MORTON J. MARCUS
    INDIANAPOLIS – The U.S. Supreme Court recently decided an independent commission in Arizona may determine election district boundaries for congressional and legislative seats. This puts Arizona among the few states limiting the power of legislators to control the election process. Despite this critical decision, we did not feel the earth move in Indiana. Although the 2015 General Assembly created an Interim Study Committee on Redistricting, the prevailing Hoosier view is legislators will not give up their power to decide where boundaries are drawn. While a study committee gives opponents of the current corrupt system a chance to vent, one of the best ways to bury an issue is to assign it to such a committee. No meetings of the Study Committee are scheduled at this time. Indiana’s Republican-dominated General Assembly drew the lines of our congressional and legislative seats to maximize the number of Republicans elected. 
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Sen. Donnelly remembers USS Indianapolis
U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly remembers the sinking of the USS Indianapolis 70 years ago July 30 in the final weeks of World War II
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  • HPI Analysis: Solutions for Indiana's historic low voter turnout
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
    and MATTHEW BUTLER

        
    INDIANAPOLIS – The concept of stewardship means leaving things in better shape than you found them. For many in the current generation of political and policy leadership in Indiana, they’ve witnessed a steep decline in voter participation. Over the past generation, voter turnout has plummeted to the point where the state has one of the worst rates in the United States. Hoosier policy makers need to explore and implement reforms. When it comes to voter turnout, Indiana ranked 43rd according to the Election Assistance Commission in the 2014 elections with 27.7% of people in the state over age 18. The New York Times ranked Indiana 50th in voter turnout using a different criterion.
     
  • Horse Race: Sugar, McDermott weigh Democrat gov runs
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
    and MATTHEW BUTLER

        
    INDIANAPOLIS – In the past week Glenda Ritz’s gubernatorial campaign was described in the IndyStar as “minor league” with three strikes against it. State Sen. Karen Tallian drew 10 people to a Richmond meet-and-greet. John Gregg, Ritz and Tallian have yet to unveil the so-called “big idea” to fuel popular support of a campaign other than defeating the socially divisive Gov. Mike Pence. And former Evan Bayh staffer Tom Sugar and Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. are both exploring potential candidacies. It’s nine months out from the 2016 Democratic primary and the field isn’t set. “Quite frankly, when I look at our candidates, I’m not sensing a lot of enthusiasm for the ticket,” said McDermott, who is running for reelection in November and is heavily favored. He sees himself as a potential late entry into the race. “I think if I ran I would be very, very dangerous in the primary. I think I could win the primary.”
     
  • Horse Race: Three-way GOP race develops in 9th CD
    By MATTHEW BUTLER

    INDIANAPOLIS -Two weeks ago the 9th CD’s Republican field officially became a three-way race among State Sen. Erin Houchin, of Salem, State Sen. Brent Waltz, of Greenwood, and New Albany native and Attorney General Greg Zoeller. The flurry of announcements followed the much-anticipated announcement that incumbent Todd Young is running for U.S. Senate. The three hopefuls’ early campaign statements have touched on different themes. Zoeller’s campaign kickoff stressed defending states’ rights, reining in “federal overreach,” and tackling dysfunction in Washington. Houchin, however, focused on a strong foreign policy and border security. Waltz has been touting his record in the State Senate and record for grassroots activity.
     
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  • Sen. Coats to oppose nuclear deal with Iran
    “I have read through the 159 page Iran deal, considered analysis from a wide variety of leading foreign policy experts on the pros and cons of this agreement and reviewed the deal’s classified annexes. The more I read, the more my concern grows. This deal intends to slow down Iran’s march to nuclear weapons capability, but even the White House concedes that the deal will not permanently stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions. That in and of itself is concerning. More concerning is what the negotiators conceded in order to reach an agreement with a regime that calls America its enemy, brazenly violates U.N. resolutions, sponsors terrorism, threatens Israel’s existence and is responsible for more than 1,000 American military deaths since September 11, 2001. Rather than negotiate from a position of strength, the P5 + 1 negotiators’ desire for a deal led them to negotiate from a position of weakness. The result is an agreement with benefits too small, a duration too short and a cost too high.” - U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, in an op-ed article where he says he will oppose the Iran nuclear deal. 



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