Pharos-Tribune

Columns

May 12, 2012

Restoring an office’s reputation

Indiana’s new secretary of state made a stop in Logansport last week during an Election Day tour of vote centers.

Secretary of State Connie Lawson had already made a stop in Lafayette, and she planned to visit the vote center at Logansport Mall before heading south to Blackford and then Wayne County.

Her goal, she told me during a brief stop at the Pharos-Tribune, was to get a personal look at the vote centers in action. She had already visited a center in Johnson County the week before.

“It was at a cafeteria,” she said, “and the voters there were very happy.”

Not all vote centers operate in the same way, she told me. For one thing, she said, they have different kinds of equipment.

Her goal, though, is to put together a best practices manual and perhaps convince more counties to give vote centers a try. Her office has no real stake in the method counties use to run their elections, she said, other than to encourage efficiency and make voting more accessible.

“The increase in participation is what we’re interested in,” she said.

Lawson, who was appointed by Gov. Mitch Daniels in mid-March, acknowledged last week that she was still learning the job. She took over for Charlie White, who had been convicted in February of voter fraud.

Lawson admitted that her office had suffered a black eye as a result of White’s conviction.

“The first couple of weeks, it was pretty difficult,” she said. “The good news is that the business of the secretary of state’s office was being done behind the scenes. I have a very professional staff.”

Lawson said she had been doing her best to reassure voters that her office was serious about upholding the integrity of the election process. She said she had been well received in her travels around the state.

“I’m feeling much better now,” she said. “The people I’ve met have been very supportive. People are glad it’s behind us, and we can move on.”

Lawson also acknowledged that the issue of residency continued to be an issue in election campaigns. She noted the Republican U.S.

Senate race between 36-year veteran Richard Lugar and state Treasurer Richard Mourdock. Many think Mourdock’s challenge of Lugar’s eligibility played a big role in the senator’s defeat.

Lawson said she hoped to clarify the residency requirements.

“There are, I think, some ambiguities involved,” she said. “I think we’re going to try to have a legislative package that will address this issue.”

Lawson also acknowledged that another presidential primary had ended with no real participation by the voters in Indiana. Hoosier voters played a real role in the Democratic presidential contest four years ago, and for a brief moment, Lawson said, it looked like Republicans might have their turn this year.

“I think we all thought there was a possibility we might be right in the middle of it,” she said. “We actually made some early preparations to make sure we’d be ready if that came about.”

White’s predecessor, Todd Rokita, had been part of a national discussion aimed at getting more states involved in the process.

Lawson said she wasn’t familiar with those proposals, but she pledged to look into the issue and perhaps get the Legislature involved in finding a solution.

“I do know that some states have gotten themselves in trouble with the national party organizations for trying to have their primaries too early,” she said, “so we’d need to be concerned about that.”

Still, she said, there should be some way to make sure Indiana voters have a real voice in the selection process.

• Kelly Hawes is managing editor of the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5155 or kelly.hawes@pharostribune.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • LYONS: How we devalued the 'R' word At the risk of angering somebody like MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry, I sometimes used to joke that I only look white. Actually, I'm Irish. Meaning basically that I wasn't raised to think the man in the big house had all the answers, nor deserved all t

    April 21, 2014

  • HAYDEN: Want better teacher ratings? Ask the kids The state may be back where it started, encumbered with a flawed teacher grading system, a year after implementing what were meant to be tough new standards. That was the general consensus of the State Board of Education days after teacher evaluation

    April 21, 2014

  • KNISELY: Adventures in cat spaying If you're a regular reader of this column, you know I have a cat. I got the cat to deal with the mice. Even if you only pop in on this column from time to time, you still likely know I have mice and that I hate them. I complain about it quite regular

    April 20, 2014

  • GUTWEIN: Strengthening Indiana for Hoosier veterans America's legacy was built on the foundation created by our brave service men and women. Whether they defended our nation's borders overseas or assisted Hoosiers during the harsh winter months, we need to do everything we can to make Indiana the best

    April 20, 2014

  • CEPEDA: Baseball's sacred temple Call it a character defect, but I don't like baseball. And I especially don't like the Chicago Cubs -- losers I never found lovable. I grew up less than a mile west of Wrigley Field and games there represented summer-long inconveniences such as midda

    April 20, 2014

  • HOWEY: Doctors Brown and Bucshon become seekers Seated across the table from me at Cafe Patachou were Drs. Tim Brown and Larry Bucshon. Dr. Bucshon was a heart surgeon from Newburgh. Dr. Brown is an emergency room physician from Crawfordsville. What made this breakfast meeting extraordinary is tha

    April 20, 2014

  • WOLFSIE: High-tech got you down? I love where I bank. It's a branch inside of a big supermarket. I can make a modest withdrawal and then go and blow every last penny in the cookie aisle. The tellers at the window appreciate me. They know about my obsession with round numbers and und

    April 18, 2014

  • PETERS: Grizzly bear may help human medicine I've gained 5 pounds since last summer. My body mass index (BMI) is still fine, but I need to stop gaining to keep it that way. Grizzly bears put my weight gain to shame. In the late summer, they eat some 50,000 calories per day and gain more than 1

    April 18, 2014

  • WILLIAMS: Feelings of the flowers I took one of those fun tests on Facebook to see what kind of flower I am and lo and behold, it said I was an orchid! That is so wrong because I have always thought I was the exact opposite of an orchid. I'd characterize myself as a daisy. You know,

    April 17, 2014

  • HAMILTON: Government as innovator? You bet! Five years ago, the federal government spent $169 billion to fund basic research and development. This fiscal year, it's down to $134 billion. People who believe in public belt-tightening applaud drops like that. I understand why: there are many reas

    April 17, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should mushroom hunters be allowed to forage off-trail in Indiana state parks?

Yes
No
Undecided
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.