GOP purging voter rolls
Election Board approves the action despite objections from Democrats
August 1, 2006
Republicans may continue purging names from the Marion County voter rolls despite Democrats' concerns that some voters could be disenfranchised.
In an emergency meeting Monday, the Marion County Election Board sided with Republicans, who were concerned about potential voter fraud due to people registered in more than one location and deceased voters who were never taken off the books.
The Election Board voted 2-1 in favor of allowing Republicans to continue purging names.
The controversy began Friday when Republicans started removing the names of voters they thought were ineligible. The names came from a list supplied by a vendor contracted by the secretary of state's office that indicated about 36,000 Marion County voter registrations were questionable. Republicans were certain that about 4,500 of those names should be purged immediately. Purging of additional names also is being considered.
Democrats questioned the criteria and the motives Republicans were using in determining who was a legitimate voter. In the past when the two sides disagreed on a voter registration issue, nothing happened, according to Marion County Democratic Party Chairman Ed Treacy.
This time when the Democratic and Republican leaders of the board disagreed on how to proceed, Republicans continued purging names.
The emergency meeting also was necessary because the voter registration board is required by state law to fix all potential voter registration problems by Wednesday.
"Had we not begun the process on Friday, we would not be able to get the job done," said Kyle Walker, the Republican co-director of the registration board.
John Riordan, the Democratic co-director of the registration board, requested a public meeting to discuss how to best deal with registration problems and criteria but was turned down by the Election Board.
"Our responsibility is with the registered voters of Marion County, not to the state of Indiana," he said.
Democrats were somewhat appeased by the meeting, which clarified criteria that must be used to determine who would be taken off of the books. "It was a conversation we needed to have," Riordan said.