Saturday, April 29, 2006

Marion Co. GOP Abandons A Quarter of Precincts For Primary Election

As if the sorry state of affairs for the Marion Co. GOP couldn't get worse, it just did. The Star's Brendan O'Shaughnessy reports that County Clerk Doris Ann Sadler (R) has asked Democratic county chairman Ed Treacy to cover for Republicans in 250 of the county's 914 precincts because Republican county chairman Mike Murphy couldn't find the necessary poll workers--that's 27% of the precincts. O'Shaughnessy explains:

Each precinct needs five poll workers, some from each party. At least one person, an inspector, must be present to open each polling site.

Republicans were to provide the inspectors because Todd Rokita, the GOP candidate for secretary of state, won the most votes in the county in the last election. (He won the election.)

For Tuesday, Democrats will be trained as inspectors for 30 precincts in Pike Township, 37 in Washington Township and a still-undetermined number in Center Township.

Murphy apathetically blames it on the fact that it is a primary and not a general election, and that it is common for the party to have to scramble to find poll workers. Sadler blames it on changing demographics with more Republicans moving to the suburbs. "It's a disappointment to the Republican Party and to me as an election official," she said. "The system works best when you have one of each party watching over each other's shoulder to make sure all the votes are counted."

Ed Treacy summed it up best. "They have now called me to bail them out or there won't be an election," Treacy said. "They should just surrender the clerk's office now so we can run the election properly."

So much for voter ID. What's the point in having it if you don't have poll watchers from both parties to keep an eye on the other?

Murphy's valiant efforts at dismantling the Marion Co. GOP should be completed by this year's November election.

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