Allowing cameras in the Indiana Recount Commission’s hearing on Secretary of State Charlie White’s eligibility to hold that office is the right decision. Indiana’s Open Door Law clearly gives the public the right to “observe and record” meetings of governing bodies of state and local public agencies. The Indiana Supreme Court upheld that right in its 1989 decision in Berry v. Peoples Broadcasting Corp., where the court said cameras and tape recorders could not be banned from public meetings.
One can appreciate that White and his wife, Michele, may be uncomfortable testifying about where they lived or slept at particular time, but that’s a key element in the question as to where White lived and where he should have voted in the 2010 election.
The public’s right to know whether one of the top elected officials should be removed from office, overturning the election result, trumps the uneasiness witnesses may experience knowing their testimony is being videorecorded.
The issue is of interest to Hoosiers from Angola to Evansville, but not everyone can make the trip to Indianapolis for next week’s hearing. Media coverage and Internet streaming of the hearing will allow all citizens to view the proceedings if they wish.
Being able to see the participants, whether it be commission members, witnesses or attorneys involved, allows Hoosiers to make their own judgments about the motivation behind the hearing, the truthfulness of witnesses, or impartiality of the commission.