Marion County Clerk Beth White on Redistricting

We asked our friend and Marion County Clerk Beth White to share her views as it pertains to redistricting and she has sent along the following piece about redistricting at the local level.

Beth White

White got a rocky start as chief election administrator for Marion County when she was left a shamble of an office by her predecessor but has since whipped the office and in particular the election administration and voter registration departments into great shape.

The job of county clerk is a demanding and thankless gig in smaller counties and exponentially more so in the state capitol. She is a dedicated public servant who handles her difficult duties with dignity.  We look forward to her reelection:

Redistricting

As the chief election official in Marion County, I believe it is important that the voters of our county have every confidence in our elections. My staff has worked very hard to improve the way we manage elections– from partnering in the development of real-time, Web-based Election Day incident reporting software to reaching out to young voters through yVote! to increasing the ranks of our well-trained poll workers. While no election is perfect, we have steadily improved preparation and execution of the election process.

In 2010, the federal government is undertaking its decennial census, the accuracy of which is not only important for many local, state and federal programs, but also to election administration. It has been reported that 1 in 5 people living in the US do not plan to be counted in the census, which could be a disaster for Indianapolis. It is critical that we encourage our friends, neighbors and co-workers to participate in the process to ensure our elected officials have the best data to use when redistricting our state and local offices.

To that end, state law requires the Indiana General Assembly to redistrict all state legislative districts in 2011, using the 2010 census data. State law also requires local bodies to redistrict their offices in 2012, also using the 2010 census data. It is my understanding that there have been conversations about redistricting the boundaries of our local elected offices this year or next using census data from 2000, which is sorely outdated. Cynically, this would be an effort to influence the outcome of the 2011 election, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars when the process would be repeated the very next year. This move would undermine the confidence in our elections, and be detrimental to our democratic process. I hope the process, set out in statute and using the most current data, proceeds in an appropriate way.

If given the opportunity to serve the voters beyond 2010, I look forward to working with the Indiana General Assembly and our City-County Council in implementing new districts that reflect the current demographic of our community and running elections based on those districts in a timely and efficient manner. The people of this community deserve nothing less.

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