For the fifth time in nearly three years, the Republican appointee on the Marion County Election Board used his veto power Friday to stop a plan to open satellite early voting sites. Early in-person balloting at the City-County Building has spiked 24 percent compared to the 2008 presidential election. Clerk Beth White, a Democrat, said the steady lines — sure to build in coming weeks — justified offering Northside and Southside sites later this month. First, Republican Patrick J. Dietrick applauded the efforts of White and her staff to handle the crowds. Then he voted no. “Satellite voting, conceptually, in our situation, is a solution in search of a problem,” Dietrick said after Friday’s meeting.
He noted other options available for voters who can’t get to the polls on Election Day, including requesting a mail-in absentee ballot and requesting a home visit by election workers. Those alternatives, he said, are more than voters have in many states. His vote was not a surprise, but Friday’s meeting gave White and Democratic Chairman Mark Sullivan, who both voted in favor of the proposal, a chance to put Dietrick on record yet again. Democrats have charged that the GOP’s resistance puts up more barriers to voting and could suppress turnout.