Marion County Republicans are offering a deal on a seven-year stalemate over early voting, but Democrats aren’t biting. Common Cause is suing to force Marion County to offer more early voting locations. State law lets either party block early voting, and Republicans have. The lawsuit notes their counterparts in heavily Republican neighboring counties have expanded early voting, while Democratic-dominated Marion County has been limited since 2010 to the City-County Building, which is hard to reach and has little nearby parking.
With a federal court scheduling a settlement conference for Tuesday, Republicans are proposing that Marion County join 29 counties in doing away with traditional precincts and letting you vote at any of 99 “vote centers,” 11 in each township. They say some of those locations could offer early voting as well.
County Democratic Chair Kate Sweeney Bell notes the change would abolish two-thirds of the county’s polling places, and charges that would make voting harder, not easier. In a statement, she says Republican Chairman Jim Merritt, whose state Senate district spans both Marion and Hamilton Counties, should be willing to support the same voting system in both counties.