“This is about partisan politics,” Bloomington resident Cindy McCullough said to the Monroe County Election Board Tuesday, where for the third time the Board met to discuss the creation of satellite voting sites.
McCullough pointed to Jan Ellis, the Election Board chair, who filed motions in all of the meetings to discuss satellite sites.
“Are you a Democrat?” McCullough asked.
“I am a Democrat,” Ellis said.
“You are a Democrat,” McCullough said. “I rest my case.”
Earlier that day, a group of about twelve gathered in a loose circle at Dunn Meadow.
Some were wearing IU College Democrats shirts; others wore business casual. All were members of Students for Access to Voting Early.
“It’s not a partisan issue,” Kelly Smith IU College Democrats president and SAVE member said. “It’s a participation issue.”
Together the group organized a march to the justice building where the Monroe County Election Board would discuss the issue of satellite voting again.
They marched to voice their approval of satellite voting.
At the board’s first meeting, approval for the sites lacked one vote.
During the second meeting, no one seconded the motion to vote on the sites.
This may be SAVE’s last chance to convince the board to approve satellite sites for 2010.
“I’m not positive how the turnout’s going to be, but I think it’s apparent that students care about the issue,” Smith said.
“Over the last two meetings, we’ve seen that certain members haven’t been flexible. We’re hopeful that they’ll listen to the community,” SAVE Vice President Jennifer Pike said.
The students created signs with slogans such as “Save the vote!” and “Easy voting equals real democracy.”
One sign addressed election board member Jim Fielder’s comments from the previous meeting when he said voting sites on the IU campus would bring students a feeling of entitlement rather than responsibility. It read “I’m not spoiled!”
“Show me what democracy looks like!” Smith chanted as she and Mariah Kick, SAVE vice president, lead the group through Dunn Meadow.
“This is what democracy looks like,” the group chanted back.
They marched to Third Street, passing the Monroe County Democratic Party Headquarters. There, workers lined up outside to clap, cheer and high five the marchers. Sam Allison, a Democratic city council candidate and others joined the march as they continued.
When they arrived at the justice building, they stood outside and chanted while waving their signs.
However, the march did not move the board.
Again, Ellis made a motion to create satellite voting sites, though this time she listed five sites instead of three. And again, neither Fielder nor board member Judith Smith-Ille seconded the motion, and the board did not vote on the issue.
Despite this, Ellis allowed the public to speak after signing a sheet of paper.
Eighteen people signed up to voice their opinions.
McCullough said she was born and raised in Bloomington. She said students aren’t hard-pressed for time to vote on election day.
“I don’t think any of these kids are so hurting for time that they can’t find a moment to take away from their studies. I mean they all manage to get to Kilroy’s,” McCullough said.
Several students addressed McCullough’s statements with indignation.
She interrupted every time a student addressed her comments, and others present reminded her that she no longer had the floor.
Ellis had to call to order several times.
Bloomington resident David Keppel addressed the board at the last meeting with a plea for satellite voting sites.
He repeated many of his points from the previous meeting and addressed other concerns.
“I’ve heard tonight some very unfortunate generalizations,” Keppel said. “The purpose of voting is to make it as convenient as possible not just for most people, but for everyone.”
Justin Kingsolver, IU College Republicans president and IDS columnist, also
addressed the board.
He argued that since students were able to rally on a Tuesday between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., during the same hours that the polls will be open on election day, the argument that students would not be able to make it to the polls in November was invalid.
“I’ve been told a lot that I’m trying to stop students from voting,” Kingsolver said. “That’s not true. I registered 200 voters yesterday.”
He reminded everyone that the board had failed to approve satellite sites twice
“Respectfully, no means no,” Kingsolver said to Ellis.
Smith-Ille, who had been a staunch opponent of the creation of satellite voting sites from the beginning of the debate, said students and the public must be made aware of the Curry Building on Seventh Street, where people may vote early.
“My reason is not because I don’t believe in satellite voting,” Smith-Ille said. “The numbers just don’t warrant it.”
Fielder said he approved of SAVE’s efforts to encourage people to be passionate about voting.
“But it does not have to be done with satellite voting,” Fielder said.
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