Republicans cry foul over special election plans - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Republicans cry foul over special election plans

Updated:
Tom John, Marion County GOP Tom John, Marion County GOP
Beth White, Marion County clerk Beth White, Marion County clerk

Rich Van Wyk/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - Accusations are flying as county Republicans are questioning the integrity of the upcoming special election. They are opposing the Election Day plan  that will elect a new congressman for Indiana's 7th district.

Voters will use the familiar paper ballots on March 11, but the machines to count them won't be in polling sites. Instead, poll workers will take ballots to a single central location to be counted there.

Beyond impractical, election officials insist it is impossible to program all the voting machines send them to polling locations, then reprogram them in time for the primary election eight weeks later.

The Democratic-controlled election board approved the proposal over the objections of the board's lone Republican.

County GOP Chairman Tom Jon calls the plan a travesty. "Chairman Beth White is violating federal law. This puts at risk every single vote cast here. Could votes be destroyed? Could votes be substituted?" he asked.

Marion County Clerk Beth White insists ballots will be secure and putting voting machines in all 445 precincts would be irresponsible. If results were contested "and the circuit court orders me to impound the election machines, even a few of them, then what would we do? I am literally not able to run a primary."

White has other worries. She needs hundreds of Election Day workers.

"My biggest concern is to make sure we have sufficient resources to run the election. March 11th is not a city, county or state holiday," said White.

White, a Democrat, will ask Republican Mayor Greg Ballard to excuse city employees to work the polls instead.

The Election Day plan is also drawing fire because most polling places won't have the computer touch screen voting machines intended for disabled voters.

The plan is to send them only to polling sites where or when they are needed.

Meantime, the special election will cost around $640,000. County Clerk Beth White will ask the city county council for a special appropriation.

Special election guide - Find your polling place, see maps and more

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