Monday, January 14, 2008

Disenchantment With Democratic Caucus Pours Out

Fellow blogger and GLBT activist Bil Browning describes his disappointing experience as a supposed precinct committeeperson at Saturday's Democratic caucus to slate the 7th District special election candidate where he was not allowed to cast a vote despite being assured that he could vote by the Marion County Democratic Party on the eve of the vote. To put it bluntly, he thinks the entire process was rigged in favor of Andre Carson from the get-go and began long before the late Rep. Julia Carson died after losing her battle with lung cancer. "I'm not one for a conspiracy theory, but usually where there is smoke there's fire and there is a lot of smoke blowing around Indy right now," Browning writes. "I'm not saying I have all of the answers, but I have lots of questions. It's not clear if this election was fixed or botched or both, but something just isn't right." Here's a look at some of the questions he has:

  • "Julia announced she had lung cancer late last year and died shortly thereafter. Potential candidates were left scrambling while her grandson obviously knew before everyone else . . . Keeping everyone else out in the cold as long as possible gives you plenty of time to get key people in place and appoint as many of your own precinct committee persons as you can."
  • "At Julia's funeral Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH), Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI) and Louis Farrakhan praised Andre and urged attendees to choose him to replace his grandmother. Kilpatrick and Tubbs Jones both claimed Julia's deathbed wish was "Send my seed."
  • "The 8 candidates for the special caucus had to pay the Democratic Party $500 each for lists of the Precinct Committee people eligible to vote in the special caucus. Confusion ensued as different candidates received different lists and some candidates complained of contacting dozens of supposed committee persons only to find out the lists were horribly out of date."
  • "The Marion County Democratic Party was responsible for the [PC] list. Ultimately, the excuse was that the county party hadn't used the 2006 election data to update the PC lists. Mike O'Connor, the county party chair, was "out of communication" while vacationing in California the week prior to the vote."
  • "Several precinct committee persons who should have been able to vote yesterday weren't allowed to cast ballots. I was one of them. The county party is being blamed for providing incorrect lists of eligible precinct committee persons - several times." [Note, Bil had pledged to support Joanne Sanders in slating prior to the caucus].
  • "Strangely, with fewer than half of the votes cast, officials started shutting down some of the machines. When asked, they said they were getting an early start on tallying the votes and reprogramming the machines. The rules of the special election stipulated that if no one got the requisite 50% on the first vote, the lowest vote getter would be removed and a new vote would take place. It takes about 30 minutes to reprogram the machines for the next vote."
  • "If you watch the video of Dan Parker reading off the vote totals, you'll notice something a little odd. He says that 439 votes were cast (even though 440 people registered.) When he reads off the numbers for each candidate it adds up to a total of 435 votes. That's 4 votes short. The explanation given to me by a Democratic insider is that those voters went to the machine, but didn't select a candidate when they cast their vote. Which would mean four people went through registration, wandered the halls, waited through the instructions, sat in their rows, waited in a long line, walked to a machine, acted like they voted and got their card punched to show they'd already voted, just to do nothing?"
  • "After yesterday's vote, two of the voting machines were stolen and are currently missing. The staffers say they had gone to lunch, but would have had to have gone out of their way. The warehouse for votes is on Washington Street near downtown. The caucus took place on 34th Street. The machines were stolen about 15 blocks north of the polling place. Washington Street is south of 34th Street."

After ticking off a litany of questions, Browning ponders, "Can you read my eyebrows raising? Doesn't this all seem rather coincidental to you?" Browning concluded, "I didn't see an election; I saw a coronation." That's a mockery of democracy in my book too."

I've been told by long-time observers that nobody knows how to win these caucus elections better than the Carson machine, and it once again proved that on Saturday. As to the stolen voting machines, party spokesperson Jen Wagner explained to me that state party officials, including herself, went to Binkley's after the caucus for lunch. She explained that someone smashed the back and side windows of the executive director's white Ford Escape and stole two of the iVotronic machines in broad daylight, along with her purse sans wallet. Wagner said the voting cards were removed by ES&S staff following the voting, rendering the machines useless. Police who responded to the scene advised the party officials that there had been a number of similar smash-and-grabs in that area in recent weeks. So I think it is fairly safe to assume the stolen voting machines is a product of Indianapolis' out of control crime problem and nothing else. As for Bil's unanswered questions, I hope he resolves them in his own mind and decides that the best choice he can make on March 11 is a vote for Jon Elrod.


Wilson46201 said...

Jon Elrod might be OK on LGBT-issues but he's oddly silent on the War in Iraq and just another orthodox GOP "Right-To-Lifer" ...

André Carson won the Nomination decisively. While the process might have been smoother in some respects, the outcome was solidly for André Carson (LGBT-friendly, pro-choice, anti-War)

Anonymous said...

As an officer , I can say that there is a huge market for stolen voting machines. They all go straight for the pawn shops with those. And sometimes they look like ATM machines, so the crooks think they have money in them.

Anonymous said...

Right 8:57, and I suppose a circular saw looks a lot like a DVD player. I'll keep that in mind next time I go looking for a used ATM at Pawn America.

Anonymous said...

White Ford ESCAPE

Anonymous said...

Didn't Andre run into a bit of trouble while wroking for state excise a few years ago. If I remember right..I think granny bailed him out of something. Or am I thinking of the other grandson who was robbing people on the west side

Anonymous said...

And so it starts.

Good luck, Jon, you're gonna need it against the Carson Klan.

Anonymous said...

Your theory is pure speculation and irrelevant. Even if Andre hadn't won on the first ballot, he the party would have easily selected him on one of the following ballots.

Even David O told Abdul that Andre is the right man to follow Julia. Any Democrat that doesn't support Andre will be helping the Republicans elect their candidate!

Anonymous said...

Wilson, a three-vote margin (over a second ballot requirement) is not a decisive win. Especially if the vote totals "don't add up," as Bil suggests. And I know multiple first ballot Andre votes who professed one ballot of allegiance only. Enough to make a difference on Ballot Two? We'll never know.

I knew the fix was in when all 8 candidates lined up on the stage. Parker introduced each, and shook their hand. Andre was last. He got a huge bearhug and a three-pat on the back. (You know, like Jack McFarland's famous "I'm not gay" backpat). I knew right then that any disputed issues would cut Andre's way, and it was all over. You mgiht want to watch the body language in an "impartial" setting, Dan.

I entered the caucus knowing Andre would win. The short timeframe alone favored him. And the lists were screwed up. A combination of new precinct lines and the chairman being gone, contributed mightily to the confusion. When I asked about it, testy State party workers growled that it was the fault of Marion County party workers. They were not amused.

The out-of-town Congresswomen did not influence my vote. In fact, they galvanized it for David O.

If this were any other office coveted by the Center gulag, and someone from out-of-town had tried to influence the vote, Wilson and his ilk would be screaming from the highest mountain.

If Andre wins the primary, he is my candidate for the fall. And only then.

Jon Elrod is a newcomer to politics, and his public service experience beats Andre by a mile.

There was only one candidate in the Democratic caucus about whom that could be said: Andre Carson. Even relative newcomer Randle Pollard had two years on the State Board of Education.

I'm waiting to see if Andre resigns his council seat in preparation for the special election, or if he'll serve there until he gets the Mar. 11 results.

Anonymous said...

O'Connor and Parker are both inept.
Which should be fired first though?

Didn't either of them consider
renting 6 vans to shuttle the precinct committeepeople who didn't have transportation to
and from the vote location? If hotels and car rental fleets can pick up guests from the airport....

Why weren't the candidates provided
an accurate up-to-date list of the potential voters on a CD at least a week in advance bizarre?

I'll assume that it was 100% pure incompetency rather than anything
more sinister.

Anonymous said...

To paraphrase Pope Wilson:

Jefferson weeps!

Anonymous said...

Bil Browning has zero credibility in Marion County Democratic politics. He was a paid consultant to a Republican candidate in the last election. He is nothing more than mole for Jon Elrod. Sorry, he is also a Johnny one note.

Anonymous said...

Mike O'Conner was on vacation in California? Interesting.

I suppose when the Marion County Democrat Chairman already knew who the winner would be there's really no reason be at you Party's caucus.

Dan Parker's record is simply appalling and this joke of a caucus was just that, a joke.

Anonymous said...

Carson's people got the updated list emailed to them while the other candidates had to wait.
It's one thing to win by a (very) small majority when everything is run aboveboard. When there are all sorts of other weird things going on, it starts to look awfully fishy.

Anonymous said...

The Marion County Democrats do have a shuttle service. It is called IndyGo. Just ask Wilson.

Anonymous said...

What else do you expect from Democrats?
Go ahead and yell over that, it's the truth.

David C Roach said...

who i'm voting for. and whos that black person on the leash? or is color only skin deep?
and what of "political prostitution"? seems a prime pre-requisite to be a congressperson? I'm betting she's going to be really popular in Washington. and who's in the "little black book"? inquiring minds want to know.

Wilson46201 said...

Compare websites:

Contrast and discuss!

Anonymous said...

Lots of sour grapes here....and people making more predictions that wont come true...some of these same people were saying that Andre didnt have a chance in the caucus, that the caucus would go for 4 or 5 ballots....etc etc etc

Anonymous said...

Wilson, are you actually fishing for website compliments? Funny of the day.

Anonymous said...

OK, Wilson:

Elrod's site: Under construction because he hasn't been annointed to the office since his birth and he just received his party's nod. I give it an Incomplete.

Carson's site:

A. Begins with a list of big-wigs who support him (because they know what happens to people who defy the machine or they are part of the machine). Nothing about common citizens who support him. We are supposed to be impressed, apparently, that elected Democrat officials support the annointed Democrat candidate.

B. He's running on Grandma's juice. The first sentence in his bio is: "André Carson is a 33 year-old native of Indianapolis, raised and mentored by his grandmother, Congresswoman Julia Carson." (Ever wonder why one of Julia Carson's children couldn't raise her own son?) So his primary qualification is that his Grandmother was the seat's incumbent before her death. Not very inspiring.

C. Absolutely terrible writing. Sentences such as:

"His winning ways and ability to connect concepts with reality brought him into the world of marketing..."


"He is a graduate of Arsenal Technical High School, where his passions for law enforcement first took hold."

How many passions for law enforcement does he have? Most of us have only one passion for our vocation.

"I stand for peace, justice and equality for all."

Who is he, Superman? Platitudes are weak arguments.

"This past week, Indiana sent its largest contingent of troops since WWII off toward the War in Iraq."

Are these troops going "toward" the war or to the war? Personally, I would prefer just to go toward a war, but I fear these troops are going all the way in.

There are many more examples of tortured syntax and wobbly usage. It's impressive that the site is up so soon after his slating (unless he already knew the outcome before the vote) but a little more editing might have helped it not appear to have been written by a high school sophomore.

Finally, there is this contradiction:

"As our nation's growing concern for Homeland Security developed, André was detailed to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security's Intelligence Fusion Center. There he worked on an anti-terrorism department to provide Indianapolis and all of Indiana with the security measures necessary for our physical safety."

Then: "...our country is still unprepared for a terrorist attack."

Since he was apparently plucked from boring old booze and cigarette enforcement to save Indiana from terror, who is to blame that we are so unprepared?

I give it an "A" for speed, a "C" for content, and, as a former writing teacher, a D- for form.

Anonymous said...

How convenient that voting machines would go missing....Democratic politics as usual!

Anonymous said...

The people that will put Andre over the top don't even have phones let alone Internet connections. All this blathering is inconsequential.

How many votes did the guy with the website advertised here get at the caucus? Six. Not even double digits.

Didn't someone predict he would be embarrassed?

Anonymous said...

Andre needed to take the gum out of his mouth. It was cheap.

David O needs to put a real-honest-to-goodness suit on. A really skinny dude in a ridiculous oversized t-shirt. What David O, did you think people didn't know who you were?

Anonymous said...

"The people that will put Andre over the top don't even have phones let alone Internet connections."

And now they'll be able to vote since the D's have the voting machines.

Anonymous said...

Bil Browning cant even make up his mind if he is a Dem or a Repub.....he has no room to complain about anything.

Anonymous said...

9:01--you raise an interesting point. If Bil indeed worked publicly for a Republican council candidate last fall, barring a deathbed-type conversion, in my mind, he'd be eligible for a toss from any committeeman job for a period of time. How long? I'm nos ture: but he certainly shouldn't be eligible this soon.

And, sadly, those who know him well will tell most causes which he backs, there is a controversy soon thereafter. It's a little more than coincidental. This is a long history.

He is certainly entitled to support the candidate of his choice in whatever forum he's eligible to do so. I doubt he was fully eligible Saturday. He'll have his Special Election, Slating and Primary votes to vent his spleen. So be it.

He did raise some interesting procedural points, tho.

If he's even partially right, this was a lousy election.

Anonymous said...

Once and for all, my understanding is that Andre's mother may of had some mental handicapp and that is why his grandmother stepped in to help. Also, Andre has never been in trouble. Not every candidate or person for that matter can have a perfect life.

Anonymous said...

Louis Farrakhan for Chief of Staff!!!!

Anonymous said...

Coem on Advance Indiana. You all knew that the selection of Andre Carson was fixed from the beggining!

Anonymous said...

Julia also raised the grandson who brutally tortured a couple on the westside just because they were gay.

I would like to recommend the 48th replay of the Julia Carson memorial on Comcast 22 tonight. It gets better each time.

Wilson46201 said...

That is a complete lie! She did NOT raise that person. That is completely arroneous. Whoever is posting that crap is doing deliberate smear and slander.

Anonymous said...


Controversial as usual. Of course the convention was stacked in favor of Andre with the help of Andy Jacobs.

The Democrat Party Caucuses is known for duplicating lists of precinct committeepersons. The current and accurate lists were always given to the handpicked candidates for slating, and the inaccurate lists were given to the candidates they wanted to defeat.

Mailers were returned by the postal service. The bad list had lots of typos in the spelling of names, addresses, zip codes and telephone numbers.

It has always been the county chair's convention because he can fill each of the vacant precincts with his/her people to vote for his choice on the Party's ticket.

Wilson46201 said...

Gary: please remove the libel so recklessly posted on your blog at 1:25pm by 'anonymous'. It is factually incorrect and offered with no substantiation whatsoever...

Wilson46201 said...

Anybody that thinks Andy Jacobs can control the County Chair is either smoking crack or Jocelyn Tandy. She's busy posting her usual obsessive lies again today - anonymously, of course. She's so disgraced that she dare not use her real name (whatever it might be today).

Anonymous said...

Here comes the backlash! Jon Elrod will in the special election. This is the reason Carson is not giving up his seat in the council. It makes sense, questionable council election, questionable caucus voting and the list is growing. The African American elected official is a major disgrace to the community of Indianapolis. If you add up all of their accomplishment in our City, State, Federal government this is what it amount to: "0" With no Economic growth in Indy,poverty, and the major influx of drugs and violence. When will these self serving politicians take a hint and retire into the private sector. Whooops I forgot no onw will hire them. This also applys to the late Julia Carson. What a legacy.

Anonymous said...

Easy there, vector. Best keep the white sheet and hood in the closet.

I'm pretty sure you've got a couple of your facts wrong, starting with "no economic growth". In the 25+ years I've been in Indy, there most surely has been economic growth in the inner city.

And I won't even address your smear on African-Americans, except to say that I can point to plenty of white politicians who haven't ever done a thing except collect a check.

By the way, I'm a white Republican.