Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Election Follies, Part 12

I think every Hoosier wants our elections and their process to have integrity. That's not going out on a limb. So, it's bothersome to find a lack of integrity and injustices throughout the electoral process.

Part Twelve is a follow-up to Part Seven, from LaPorte County. This one follows the Orwellian "all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others".

In my original post, the LaPorte Libertarians pointed out that in 2006, as in 2003, the Republicans failed to even file a CFA-4 form, as required by law. To be fair, the Dems also failed to file the required CFA-4 in 2003. It is worth recalling that the Republicans and Democrats wrote the law that requires a CFA-4. It is also worth recalling that the Indiana Elections Division is refusing to certify eleven Libertarian candidates this year, because even though forms were filed, and on time, a procedural step was missed.

Greg Kelver, in front of the Libertarian booth at the LaPorte County Fair

So, the Libertarians filed a complaint seeking the maximum fines to be imposed on the GOP. The fines are $50/day late, with a maximum of $1,000. As the forms were roughly 150 days late, it would be a $1,000 fine.

So, was the maximum fine imposed? From the Michigan City News Dispatch report:
LaPORTE - The LaPorte County Republican Party on Monday will not be penalized for not filing a pre-primary campaign finance report by the April 17 deadline.

The Board of Election Commissioners took no action in a brief meeting at the county courthouse. The meeting was called after the LaPorte County Libertarian Party complained that the Republicans had not filed its report.

So, why wasn't a fine imposed?
Election Commissioner Gary Davis said he thought it was good the Election Board was meeting to address the issue.

“I really feel like, if it's an intentional thing, then certainly that would be a different issue, but it's a mistake that both parties made last time,” he said.

The local GOP leader promised no repeats of the oversite.

“I guarantee it will not happen again on my watch. We're guilty; there's no question about it, but it was not intentional, we're volunteers and we're doing the best we can,” Pendergast said.

So, when the GOP mistakenly flubs on the basis of doing the best it can, that's treated with kid gloves. When the LP mistakenly flubs on the same basis, that warrants a death sentence because the law is the law. Also, if one party makes a mistake, the others are justified in future mistakes.

Anyone see an injustice here? How about a complete lack of integrity?

I call upon the Indiana Election Commission to do one of two things:

  1. De-certify all Republican candidates who were not filed properly in Indiana
  2. Certify the Libertarian candidates who were not filed properly in Indiana

Whatever the Commission stands by, it must be consistent. Otherwise, the Commission lacks integrity and stands for injustice.

Update, 8/24/06: The Michigan City News Dispatch ran my letter, along with one from Karen Wolf, about the unequal treatment. It also ran an editorial taking the LaPorte County Election Board to task for the kid gloves treatment. Curiously, neither of these features are available on the paper's website. Greg Kelver of LaPorte advises me that he will send a scanned pdf file of these items.

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