Consolidating driver and voter identification duties under one chief, Bauer said, would streamline government bureaucracy and give voters a clear sense of who's in charge.
"This (would make) the secretary of state's office more important to the voters," he said at a hastily arranged news conference outside a BMV license branch on Virginia Avenue in Indianapolis.
Secretaries of state in several neighboring states, including Michigan, have overseen motor vehicle services with success, Bauer said.
The governor's office had no comment on the proposal, but Secretary of State Todd Rokita (R) dismissed the plan as "election year antics." At least that's what he's saying publicly. Privately, Rokita is saying of Bauer's plan, "You go girl!" By this point, Rokita has got to be getting bored with the mundane task of managing his office. There's only so much you can make out of managing business registrations, overseeing the elections division and handling small-time securities violation cases.
The BMV's management would no doubt get a lot more attention if the under-challenged Secretary of State had more on his plate. It would also make the office worth keeping. A few years ago, some may recall that Democrat candidate Tim Jeffers ran on the promise of doing away with the office altogether if he got elected to the position. The Secretary of State's office in neighboring Illinois, where I grew up, is considered a stepping stone to the Governor's office because of the high profile the position has administering BMV-related duties. And Indiana motorists badly need the extra attention the agency will no doubt get if it's transferred to the Secretary of State's office.