Breaking News

Local News

November 4, 2012

Locals say voter ID laws not impacting turnout

Immigrants still struggling through naturalization process instead.

LOGANSPORT — While the expected large numbers of Cass County voters flock to voting stations, locals say the state’s strict voter ID laws are not having much of an impact on voter turnout and registration.

Although the county party organizations are divided on their opinions of the state’s strict voter ID laws, poll workers say they have not had problems with voters being turned away. Local Democrats suggest that the votes from area immigrants will aid them in Tuesday’s election.

Under an Indiana law that has been in the effect since 2006, government-issued photo IDs are required at the election polls in what lawmakers say is an effort to prevent voter fraud. However, Democrats allege that the laws will unfairly affect minorities, who studies have shown are less likely to have a government-issued photo ID.

The county does not keep track of race statistics for registered voters because there is no designated section on the voter registration, according to Cass County Clerk Beth Liming. But she said the law had not caused any problems so far.

Poll worker Judy Lewis said Friday that voters were required to show their government-issued voter ID and then poll workers scan the back of the card to make sure the information matches up with the records in the county’s computer system.

“It’s another step of verifying,” Lewis said.

If there is a problem verifying the ballot, poll worker Stella Pearson said the workers invite the voters to cast a provisional ballot, and then the county election board will later determine whether the ballot should be counted.

“We don’t turn anyone away,” Pearson said.

Tom Weatherwax, vice chairman of the Cass County Republican Party, said he believes the voter ID law is a fair way to prevent voter fraud and does not unfairly target anyone.

“You have to prove that you’re a citizen and that applies to each and every one of us,” Weatherwax said.

But Cass County Democratic Chair Paul Ulerick said while he believes voter fraud may be a problem in large cities, it’s not as much of a problem in areas like Cass County. Ulerick suggested that lawmakers should reconsider the law.

“It should be as easy as possible to vote, not as hard as possible to vote,” Ulerick said.

Speaking for the Hispanic workers at the local Tyson factory, Juan Garcia, a union representative, said he had heard no complaints.

“I haven’t heard anybody mention anything about the law,” Garcia said.

He added that the union held a registration drive to register eligible workers.

“We signed up as many people as we could,” Garcia said.

The only frustration Garcia has heard is from workers who can’t vote because they’re in the process of applying for citizenship.

“Obviously they feel bad that they can’t vote because they’re not a citizen yet,” Garcia said.

Similarly, Mang Khai, a Burmese translator at Tyson’s facility, said most of the 700 Burmese workers at the plant aren’t able to vote because they’re not yet citizens. Khai said he was in the process of becoming a citizen, but that he did not believe the application would be granted in time for the election.

“That made me really upset and frustrated,” he said.

Khai said voting is very important to the Burmese workers because it will be the first time that they’re able to vote in a democratic election.

“We have a very crucial and important thing to do to choose our own president from our own will,” Khai said.

The same applies to voting in the local elections, Khai said.

“We would support the best candidate,” Khai said. “That would be very, very good for the country and the city of Logansport in the near future.”

Looking toward the next election, Ulerick said he believes registered immigrant voters will give a boost to local Democrats.

“I would think it would tend to do that,” Ulerick said. “Democrats are more open-armed to welcome people to our country.”

Weatherwax argued the Republican Party would benefit.

“I think that they represent a new voter bloc in our country, and in our part of the world here in Cass County, we welcome all those people,” Weatherwax said.

Khai predicted the Burmese turnout would eventually become a significant factor in local elections.

“By the next election, I hope about 1,000 Burmese will be voting,” he said. “There will be big change by the next election.”

Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Police blotter: April 21, 2014 Have a tip? Anyone with information on a crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest or conviction could lead to a reward of up to $1,000.

    April 21, 2014

  • NWS-PT042114 fema relief 1.jpg No relief in sight: FEMA decisions frustrate leaders KOKOMO -- Pamela Jackson thought she was lucky to escape harm as a tornado bore down on her neighborhood last November. She huddled in a bathroom with her two disabled sons, critically ill husband and six other family members as the twister blew out

    April 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Panel to talk public power Wednesday Three men with careers in and backgrounds with the energy industry will speak about public power at a Wednesday event organized by opponents of Logansport's power plant project. The free event was organized by the Citizens' Alliance for Responsible E

    April 21, 2014

  • Email, Internet knocked out at Miami Co. Courthouse PERU -- Basic government services were put on hold for the second time in nearly two months in Miami County after a massive server failure once again knocked out Internet and email access in most departments and offices. The crash hit early the week

    April 21, 2014

  • Grant will increase technology at Ivy Tech The Logansport campus of Ivy Tech Community College along with high schools and career centers in the area stand to see benefits in industrial technology education from a multi-million-dollar grant recently awarded by the federal government. The U.S.

    April 21, 2014

  • NWS-PT042014 Monk String-MAK Local Lao-Thai celebration brings 'new year, new life' Five Buddhist monks sat cross-legged on the stage of the Cass County Memorial Home Saturday morning, draped in orange robes, their hair cropped close to their heads. Those in attendance sat and knelt on rugs before them, many wearing sashes over thei

    April 20, 2014 3 Photos

  • Hospital CEO calls for growth Logansport Memorial Hospital's president and CEO said the facility will continue with its goals for growth in his State of the Hospital address Friday. Among the hospital's goals for 2013 were to preserve existing net revenues and resources, achieve

    April 20, 2014

  • NWS-PT042014 ballistics vest.jpg Protective investment: Family donates dog's bulletproof vest A local family recently donated a bulletproof vest to protect the Cass County Sheriff's Department's new canine, Kurby. Dr. Gerhardt Winkel III, his wife Stephanie and their children Elizabeth and Benjamin donated the vest because Kurby is a Belgian

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS-PT042014 miami co crash.jpg Two injured in Miami County crash PERU -- Two people were injured Thursday afternoon in a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of U.S. 24 and Ind. 19. According to a preliminary crash investigation by Indiana State Police, Rachael Pegg, 23, Mexico, was driving a 2002 Oldsmobile Intr

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS-PT042014 smith retirement.jpg Pastor retiring after 36 years After 36 years at Logansport First Church of the Nazarene, the Rev. Dr. Horace Smith thinks it's time to call it quits. Smith is preaching his last sermon next Sunday as the church's pastor. He and wife Linda Smith plan to remain in Logansport, which

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Raw: Fire Engulfs Tower Block in China Ocean Drones Making Waves in Research World Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier Raw: Ferry Captain Received Medical Treatment Hundreds Gather for Denver Pot Rally on Easter Transcript Reveals Confusion in Ferry Evacuation 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 Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria

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.

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

     View Results