Category Archives: Todd Rokita

Charlie “Dork” White Was Too Busy To Be Honest

Okay. Lets break this Charlie White thing down. First lets review some of Mary Beth Schneider’s well done piece from the IndyStar.com for background:

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker today charged that the Republican nominee for secretary of state, Charlie White, committed voter fraud when he voted in May’s primary election in a precinct in which he does not live.Parker also sent letters to Secretary of State Todd Rokita, Hamilton County Prosecutor Sonia Leerkamp and Gov. Mitch Daniels — all Republicans — asking them to investigate and asking Daniels to release all state records, such as driver’s license information, which would provide information about White’s addresses.

Parker pointed out that Indiana law makes it a Class D felony to knowingly vote in any precinct except the one in which the voter is both registered and resides.

White refused to answer questions about whether he’d voted in a precinct in which he did not live.

Instead, his campaign issued a statement saying that “it’s unfortunate that a set of personal and family-related circumstances created this scenario, but the simple fact is that Charlie was entitled under law to vote one last time at his old polling location. The only issue here pertains to filing a change of address for his voter registration form, an oversight that has been previously brought up and already fixed. Charlie has repeatedly taken full responsibility for the any mistakes he may have made and has taken all the steps necessary to correct them.”

It is questionable, though, whether state allow allows White to “vote one last time at his old polling location.” Indiana code says a voter who moves 30 days before an election may vote if they make an oral or written affirmation of their current address to poll clerks.

White apparently moved in March, more than 30 days, and there was no immediate information that he informed poll clerks of his address change in that May primary.

Parker, though, found that lame, especially from a man running to be Indiana’s chief elections officer.

“It is our clear opinion that Mr. White has committed voter fraud when he voted in the May primary 2010 — when he voted from the Broad Leaf address when he did not live there,” Parker said.

And, Parker said, Rokita, also a Republican, has made fighting voter fraud a top priority in office, including pushing for and winning passage of a law requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls. He should not turn a blind eye now, Parker said, to this case.

Parker released a timeline showing that White voted in the November 2006 general election, using an address on Broad Leaf Lane in Fishers. In January 2007, he transferred that property to a former spouse and in 2007 and 2008 voted in elections citing a Pintail Drive residence.

In November 2009, he voted in a special election, signing a voter registration book stating the need to re-register to his new address.

In February 2010, White completed a new voter registration, citing Broad Leaf Lane as his address, but the same month closed on the sale of a new condo at Overview Drive in Fishers. In May, though, White voted in the primary election, citing Broad Leaf Lane as his address. And in June, when he filed his candidacy for secretary of state, he listed his residence as Overview Drive, but listed his mailing address as Broad Leaf Lane.

Not until last week did White re-register to vote, listing Overview Drive as his residence.

The same day he resigned from the Fishers Town Council, acknowledging that he’d moved outside his district. The new address is some five miles outside the district.

I don’t know about you folks, but when I go to the polls and vote, I try to answer the questions they ask me and I try to make sure they have my information right. It is just something that occurs to me as I go through the process.I try to think about the process.

Sure we are all human, but these are not simple foibles like forgetting to pick-up the laundry because you are swamped at work. I have had my own brain slippage on election day.

I once walked into a polling place to vote and became peeved and then a bit perturbed when they didn’t have my name on the pollbook. They then asked my address and they instructed me that that is another polling station. I had moved in the last year and had re-registered after my move, but got in my truck and drove on auto-pilot to my old polling station and they did have me on the pollbook at the new polling place. All was correct and, while I was a bit embarrassed, the system performed correctly.

But if you are Charlie White, who holds elected position in a districted seat on a town council and you helped re-write the district boundaries and have set your eyes on serving as the state of Indiana’s chief election officer, then I should hope as you walk into the you ask yourself a few questions:

  • Gosh, I hope that I can get this voting done quick, I got important shopping to do.
  • Hold on. Do I still live in the district? Wait, didn’t I help draft these districts?
  • Gosh, I should check before I vote if my new home is in the district from which I serve the citizens of Fishers who pay me a healthy stipend for the honor. Am I five miles outside the district? Naw, can’t be that far.
  • Oh that’s right, I took care of this by moving back in with my ex-wife right before the election so my address was still in the district, not way across town where my new condo is. Boy it sure is cool of my fiance to let me go back to co-habitating with the ex-missus just a couple months before our nuptials! Golly, better not tell a lot of folks about that situation. They might get the wrong idea about my family values.
  • Mental note: Really gotta find time to buckle down and read them election laws. Especially the voter fraud provisions. My party is gonna expect me to hold the fire to those Democrats. We gotta use every loophole we have to make sure we can throw out votes from those strong Democratic precincts.
  • Hey, if I committed voter fraud, that couldn’t nullify my candidacy for Secretary of State could it? Yep, definitely gotta take the time to read those pesky election laws.
  • Gee-Whiz, it is gonna RAAAWWWK to be in charge of that there election stuff. Oh, it’s my turn…

“Yes ma’am, I still live at…”

That last bit about endangering the candidacy is more interesting now that State Democratic Chair has asked the SoS office to investigate whether Charlie White can even stand as a candidate for SoS. WISH TV reports it like this:

“We’ll handle it like any other request,” he (SoS Rokita) said.

He’s talking about the request from state Democratic Chairman Dan Parker, who says White committed fraud when he listed his ex-wife’s house on his voter registration for the May primary while he lived in a new townhouse. Using his ex-wife’s address allowed the GOP secretary of state candidate to remain on the Fishers Town Council after moving out of his district.

“I don’t know if there’s any evidence here yet in those kinds of situations,” says Rokita, “but my office has been directed by me personally to take a look.”

And now Parker has a new charge. He says that because White listed one address on his voter registration and another on his candidacy form, he violated a law that requires candidates to be properly registered.

“So the question now becomes and needs to be part of Todd Rokita’s investigation, is Charlie White a legitimate candidate for secretary of state?” Parker said.

Rokita says he will judge the matter fairly.

“I’m always judging cases that have to do with members of my party and no one can ever put on me in my record the fact that I’ve been biased,” he said. But he also says he will consider the source of the allegations.

If Rokita finds fraud, he has no power to punish White. He can, however, relay that finding to a prosecutor or the state election commission with a recommendation that they take action.

That last bit by Rokita is just more Republican hyperbolic bullshit.

He, as SoS, has no “judging” to do. This whole matter won’t ever get touched by Rokita except to spin it for his congressional campaign. By law this whole matter will be investigated by the Indiana Election Division staff who do serve as  part of the SoS office, but the “judging” will fall to the Indiana Election Commission. A four-member body made up of two Democrats and two Republicans, neither of which is named Rokita and the SoS doesn’t even have a tie-breaking vote.

Which brings us to the ultimate shame of all this. The Election Commission is not going to meet, because the Republicans will stay away until after election day and wont’t give the matter a hearing. Mainly due to the SoS status as a the Indiana House of Representatives tiebreaker. If the Rs gain enough to hold 50 seats after the election, the Speaker of the House position is determined by which party holds the SoS seat.

It is all very interesting and labyrinthine, but ultimately nothing will happen in those processes. So it is up to the voters.

Hey voters! How do you feel about voter fraud?

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Daniels Pushes Redistricting to His Own Benefit

This piece on Governor Mitch Daniels in The Hill gives him too much credit.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) recently offered his own solution for ending the partisan rancor in Washington — redistricting.

The process traditionally has been used to gain an advantage over the opposing party. But Daniels, who was in Washington preaching political civility, says it could be used to push members into the center of the political spectrum.

“If we got rid of gerrymandering and districts were really drawn not to protect incumbents but on a demographic, and geographic and common sense basis, I think we all know, we’d have a lot more competitive districts and you’d have more places where people compete for the center and not the edge,” the potential 2012 presidential contender said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast on Tuesday. “I’ve already told my own party, which got shafted in the last redistricting Congressionally and in the state House, I will not sign a politically drawn redistricting plan.”

In Indiana, redistricting is overseen by the state Legislature, with the governor holding veto power over their proposal.

Daniels said he is pushing state lawmakers to pass legislation to create redistricting guidelines that would make the process more transparent. “As it happens, it would give us a fairer shake than today,” he said.

Indiana Democrats, meanwhile, are worried that Daniels’ prolific fundraising abilities will help his party reclaim the state’s lower chamber in November. He has a PAC that donates to state politicians. If the GOP takes the state House, it would give the party complete control over redistricting, which will begin after the Census is complete in December.

Still, Daniels brushed aside the suggestion he was concerned about his party’s political future. His desire to reclaim the state House, he said “is not about redistricting.”

“We’ve got several more things I’d like to do on my watch and I’ve about run out the string of things we can get done with our opponents in control of the House,” he said.

He continues to thump for redistricting as the poor put-upon Republican while pressing for hegemony of the state for his final two years in office because the man cannot accept being questioned in any way shape or form. Note his testiness at WTHR after being caught lying about the number of jobs he claims to have brought to the state:

An Eyewitness News investigation shows thousands of Indiana jobs claimed by the state simply don’t exist.

Gov. Mitch Daniels is now talking about that investigation and, based on the governor’s comments, he is not impressed.

“You seem to have a blindingly clear view of what is perfectly obvious,” he said.

The governor addressed Indiana job numbers just hours after 13 Investigates showed up to 40% of jobs already promoted by the governor have not turned to reality. For three weeks, the governor declined WTHR’s requests to discuss the issue. That changed Tuesday afternoon at the statehouse, when investigative reporter Bob Segall asked the governor to respond to 13 Investigates’ findings during a question-and-answer session for the media.

“You seem to have discovered the obvious, namely that none of these jobs were ever scheduled to happen in the first year. Secondly, that some of them in a recession don’t happen,” Gov. Daniels replied.

The 6-month Eyewitness News investigation did not focus on any new jobs announced during the past year. Instead, WTHR’s statewide job analysis included only jobs announced by the state in 2006, 2007 and 2008. 13 Investigates examined what the Indiana Economic Development Corporation calls “Indiana Economic Successes” to determine if the projects were on track and if the companies listed as successes actually hired new workers.

That’s when WTHR discovered empty fields and deserted factories across the state where state leaders claim there are supposed to be new jobs. 13 Investigates found job commitments that fell through years ago are still being counted in the state’s job numbers. Those broken job commitments show up in state performance reports as if they were real jobs when, in fact, they are not.

“A commitment is not a reality. A commitment is a statement of hope and aspiration,” explained Morton Marcus, a business professor and former director of the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University. “We need to be founded in reality and that’s the issue. “How many jobs are actually being created? Where are the jobs? Where is the reality as opposed to the hopes?”

Read the rest of the piece and see the video here. Note Mitch Roob’s lack of forthrightness as well.

Buyer Exit Opens Skillman Exit Strategy and Roswarski Opportunity

In a season that makes you think that just about every Republican is gonna run for everything, the departure of Fourth District Republican Congressman Steve Buyer from the ballot both surprises and soon will likely support that notion.

Buyer

Lafayette’s WLFI Channel 18 reports:

Indiana Congressman Steve Buyer (R-4th District) announced he will not seek reelection during a news conference Friday morning.

The news conference began at 11:00 a.m. at the IU Medical Center in Indianpolis. Buyer was joined by several family members, including his wife, Joni.

Buyer appeared emotional at the conference, wiping tears from his eyes and speaking with a voice that frequently shook. He announced his retirement from the army reserves and said he would not seek reelection after the conclusion of his term.

Buyer said that his motivation for these decisions was his wife’s health. He said doctors said his wife was suffering from an incurable autoimmune disease.

Buyer has represented Lafayette in the US House since 1992, when he upset Democrat Jim Jontz. He represents the court district, which stretches through a line of counties from Monticello through Lafayette to Bedford. It skirts the west side of Indianapolis.

In 1998, Buyer served as a prosecutor in President Clinton’s impeachment hearings. He serves on the committee on Veterans Affairs, and the committee on Energy and Commerce.

Buyer’s scholarship foundation, the Frontier Foundation, recently became the focus of a CBS investigation . He did not mention the Frontier Foundation during his Friday announcement.

Buyer made changes to they way the foundation ran in August when questions were first raised about the fund, moving it out of his campaign offices in Monticello.

Buyer’s announcement comes as the deadline for other candidates to file draws near.

Tippecanoe County Republican Mark Davis said he believes it is likely that State Senator Brandt Hershman will run for the office. Davis said it would be good to have someone from Tippecanoe County, who is familiar with Purdue, in the position.

We won’t question Buyer’s reasons even coming on the tail end of what was likely a not quite over Front Foundation scandal. Rather we will wish his wife Joni the best of health and turn our sites (grammatical blogger joke) to what happens now.

While the name most spoken of on the Republican side for taking up the Republican banner is State Senator Brandt Hershman it has been speculated that Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman may well push her way in.

"So you're on TV?"

Skillman is to some keen observers in a bit of a pickle. Most believe she has readied herself since even before her ascension to the LG post for a run for Governor post Daniels. But the overwhelming support for her as that logical next step has never made itself apparent.

Tepid support has Republican speculation including SOS Todd Rokita, who lives in Buyer’s district and is likewise stepping up his efforts to speculate himself into the fourth district seat, State Republican Chairman Murray Clark and most recently Sixth District District Congressman Mike Pence considering stepping into the gubernatorial arena, when they aren’t dabbling with the difficult prospect of challenging Senator Evan Bayh.

"What am I running for? What have you got?"

So, as a savvy political friend of ALO put it this morning, “Maybe this is Becky’s exit strategy?” Her hometown is Bedford, so key to the district that Buyer has a satellite office there. Though her power as a statewide candidate is in question, a sitting Lieutenant Governor with $135,000 in her committee may not be distinguishing herself as a gubernatorial candidate, but those funds make a decent starter fund for a congressional bid, even if using them for a federal run is tricky.

All we are saying is that she’d be kind of silly to not look at it if she aspires to a career after her LG stint.

Among Dems certainly one has to wonder about Nels Ackerson who ran against Buyer in 2008. ALO spoke with Ackerson today to ask his thoughts and would he consider another run.

“I’ve said before that I won’t be a candidate,” and he went on to reaffirm that citing personal family and professional obligations that preclude such a run now. But he offers these thoughts:

It was recently ranked the 25th most Republican district but I don’t think that makes it unwinnable, but there are some difficulties. It sits amid multiple media markets and the predominate one, the Indianapolis market, virtually ignores the race, making it difficult. I have prior to this been contacted by several people who were looking at the race, including the one declared candidate David Sanders (2006 Democratic nominee).

Some active Democrats have thrown out the name of the very popular Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski. No word from Roswarski, but he is certainly an attractive candidate for several reasons. His 20-plus-year law enforcement career and impeccably run campaigns make him interesting for those who are looking for a Democrat with crossover appeal.

His tenure in Lafayette city council and as a two-term mayor have been marked by the ability to work with both sides of the aisle amicably, again appealing for crossover but also creating an immediate campaign slogan: experience in overcoming gridlock to do what’s right.

An additional plus to a Roswarski candidacy, he sits on a pretty healthy war chest right now too. Speaking of healthy, when asked to participate in a wellness program for the city, the mayor felt it was his duty to drop some weight and has lost at least fifty pounds. The man is a lean mean winning machine!

All this is the immediate discussion and we are certain that our fellow bloggers are picking it apart to finer details, but we feel that the most important folks to watch right now are those who, thanks to the late date of Buyer’s announcement, even later than Brizzi’s, are up against it to launch fast and win what at least on the Republican side, is likely to be a multi-headed hydra of a primary fight.

What Isn’t Todd Rokita Spending Taxpayer Dollars On? Making Sure Votes Get Counted

The US Election Assistance Administration, founded as part of the Help America Vote Act after the 2000 election fiasco, has released their. One of the most disturbing aspects is that Indiana is the worst at counting absentee ballots.

Absentee ballots? Lets skip doing a press release on that.

Out of 662,443 domestic absentee ballots submitted for counting, Indiana rejected a higher percentage than any other state, 68,209 or over 10%.

Unfortunately, Indiana does not require counties to track the reason for rejecting an absentee ballot. So about 98% of these ballots were rejected without a reason being recorded.

Indiana does have a very high number of absentee ballots rejected because the person already cast their ballot in person on election day.  Out of the 68,000 domestic absentee ballots submitted, 14,000 were rejected because the voter beat their ballot to the polls on election day and voted in person.  But even after you take those 14,000 out of the equation, Indiana still rejected the largest percentage of absentee ballots nationwide.

So, 76% of Indiana’s rejected absentee ballots were rejected without a recorded reason.  However, when you delete out those 14,000 absentee ballots rejected after the voter went to the polls, the percentage of absentee ballots whose reason for not being counted is listed as not categorized jumps to about 98%.

This is the proud service of Secretary of State Todd Rokita.

First, he mounts a crusade to give the state the most stringent identification before voting rules in the country, then he pours millions of public dollars into self-aggrandizing public relations efforts to get his mug into newspapers and on television, then he mounts a redistricting push that is entirely based in making a name for himself so he can run for governor and actually secure the state is forever gerrymandered to have both houses of the legislature and the congressional districts favor Republicans, but this comes out and…

…not a peep.

…nothing but crickets.

Where is the outrage Mr. Rokita?

Where is the publicly funded press junket touting this as a top priority for your administration?

Nowhere.

Want to see the report? Click here. The table covering this is 34c.

Rethinking Republican Redistricting: Rokita Selling “Make Me Governor” Snake-Oil

The next in our ten part series on the Republican redistricting reform proposals. If you are a subscriber to our free newsletter than you will already have seen 10 through 6. If you haven’t subscribed, click here.

Number ten was about Secretary of State Todd Rokita’s utterly unverifyable and untrue claim that his plan would create more competitve districts. Read it here.

8.   Rokita is not interested in reform, rather, he is interested in reform-like rhetoric to stump his way to the Governor’s office.

"Step right up ladies and gents, this little beauty is the cure for problems you don't even have."

This is a snake-oil issue, at least the way Rokita is pedaling it. He has struck a tone that makes it seem as if fairness is his sole concern. To bypass any hint of a partisan agenda in his presentation when exhibiting how carved up some counties are he uses Republican stronghold counties like Hamilton, when in fact he is counting on making sure districts are carved up broad to dilute the power of any Democratic areas.

IU Law Professor and Political Scientist Dr. Luis Fuentes-Rohwer recognizes this.

This is well-packaged. That video he presented shows people these district shapes and people come away disbelieving.”

It is well-packaged. It is expensively packaged. It has its own website with all sorts of fancy graphics paid for by public resources. He closed his remarks at his Common Cause/League of Women Voters redistricting seminar presentation by stating that he “is dedicating the balance of my term as Secretary of State to passing this reform.”

Even though he knows it won’t pass. In fact, he hopes it doesn’t pass, because than he’ll have to come up with some other non-issue issue to talk about at rallies and Lincoln Day dinners while he campaigns for 2012.

If he were concerned about fair elections, he could discuss campaign finance. Corporations and unions have contribution limits, but individuals do not in Indiana politics. As a scandal roils through his party with a Ponzi schemer donating more than $150,000 to single campaign, the Chief election official in the state could show some outrage there, but then how could he get people to donate fat checks to his gubernatorial campaign?

Rethinking Republican Redistricting: Shapes are Meaningless

The next in our ten part series on the Republican redistricting reform proposals. If you are a subscriber to our free newsletter than you will already have seen 10 through 6. If you haven’t subscribed, click here.

Number ten was about Secretary of State Todd Rokita’s utterly unverifyable and untrue claim that his plan would create more competitve districts. Read it here.

9.    Shapes are meaningless.

While Rokita claims these were drawn without entering political data in the computer, I can tell you he is purposely diluting Democrat voting communities here.

At the Common Cause/League of Women Voters hosted seminar on redistricting held late last year in the Indiana Senate chambers, Secretary of State Rokita put forth his plan for redistricting the state. First in a cutesy video and then in a PowerPoint he showed some selected shapes of Indiana House and Senate districts. They stretched and curved so as to appear very tortured and he presented it all as if there was obviously some very, very sinister plot at work.

Then he spoke of how, if his plan were implemented then no political data and voting histories would be considered and the main concerns when drawing the districts would be compactness and communities of interest as the chief concerns.

He then presented a map that he and his staff had drawn “without political data and following these rules of compactness.

Here came a truly telling moment in the presentation. He showed his map of the state and picked some select districts made almost entirely of whole counties or townships and then with a Cheshire grin turned to the assembled and said, “There, doesn’t that look better.

Doesn’t that look better? What a truly infantile approach to creation of voting districts. With that phrase he boiled down his argument to the depth of a Project Runway episode. His argument for his brand of electoral cartography boils down to esthetics? Great.

But it is more than that. To create fair districts that maintain the “one person, one vote” principle established by the U. S. Supreme Court you have to look at more, and county and township lines are hardly true communities of interest to be grouped as such.

Messy looking maps are largely just a part of the process.

Who said these lines have to look pretty?” IU Law Professor and Political Scientist Luis Fuentes-Rohwer who shared the panel with Rokita that day pointed out in an interview this week. “One person, one vote clearly is the culprit here for maps looking the way they do. Once you force maps to come as close as they can to equality within plus or minus 10 percent, once you add in section two of the Voting Rights Act (of 1964), communities of interest and the like, maps will start to look ugly.

The good professor points out that arguing about a maps shape is meaningless at best and more likely misleading. “To look at a map’s shape without other information and say ‘look here is a problem’ without other data, that’s just not going to cut it.”

If you really want to fix it set a commission,” he continues, “If he (Rokita) is really interested in being a reformer, then set-up a bi-partisan or a non-partisan commission. But that won’t pass because if you’re a Republican you’d be crazy to do it.

That, good doctor, is precisely the rub. The Secretary is not interested in reform. He is interested in self-elevation.

Zoeller to Pour Good Money After Bad; Daniels Using Governor’s Office to Run for RNC Chairman

We sat down write a pithy piece on how Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller was going to was going to waste more Indiana taxpayer money to prop up Senator Lugar’s opposition to the health care bill when we read a great post from Jon Easter on he and Chris Jackson’s blog IndyDemocrat which said most everything we wanted to say.

"Sure governorin's cool and all, but whatI'd really like to do is be RNC Chairman."

Here’s a taste:

According to the Indianapolis Star, Lugar has asked Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller to look at the constitutionality of the Senate package that, according to analysts, would raise the number of insured individuals in the country to 93 percent. Lugar charges that certain provisions of the bill violate the United States Constitution. The key provisions that are being targeted include the mandate that everyone buy health insurance and the Nebraska and Michigan exceptions which were negotiated by Harry Reid to gain votes for passage.

It would seem that Lugar and the Republicans are now conceding defeat on the health care issue as they are trying to position themselves for a court fight to try to overturn the legislation. It’s the fourth quarter and they are down a couple of touchdowns. Time to go to that last page of the playbook…

Lugar’s not the only legislator asking his home A.G. to take a look at the bill. Texas and Florida are also thinking about taking up the fight. Personally, with the state coffers so in the red, I would hope that Zoeller looks carefully at the case before proceeding. The state already spent $2 million in taxpayer money going after Chrysler last year in court before losing.

That last bit about Zoeller wasting more Hoosier tax dollars in obstructionist attacks is only part of the story. Since when are taxpayer-supported lawsuits against unfinished acts of congress a fiscally conservative approach to policy? Another friend of ALO had this to say:

First State Treasurer Murdock tried to block the bailout and now Zoeller is trying to block health care.  What the hell, is Indiana the new wing of the RNC?  …How much Indiana taxpayer dollars were spent with Murdock and now going to be spent on this exercise?

These actions feed speculation that these hand-picked Mitch Daniels people are part of a coordinated anti-Obama campaign to boost Daniels into the role of Republican National Committee Chairman. Then seeking the presidency. It makes sense.