When most people go to vote on Election Day, it is usually as simple as showing your identification, signing your name and pushing a few buttons.
Last weeks Allen County Election Board meeting, however, showed not every vote is clean, and not every vote is counted.
For example, 10 people were wrongly given provisional ballots because they didnt want to wait in line. After youve signed the poll book, you cant leave and come back to vote. These voters were given paper ballots, which the election board approved despite noting the ballots should not have been given by poll workers.
Provisional ballots are given to people who forget their photo identification, arent in the poll book or for a number of other reasons. They are not counted unless approved by the board.
The provisional ballot envelope caused another headache for the county. Not having identification is a fairly normal reason to be given a provisional, but the envelope doesnt include a place to mark that reason. This forces the poll workers to choose which box is appropriate.
Several chose wrong, giving the election board conflicting information as to why the person wasnt allowed to vote in the traditional manner.
The board threw out the votes with a separate affidavit stating the reason for the provisional but accepted the ones without such evidence. By the way, the correct box for workers to check for no identification is other. County officials said they believe the envelopes are being updated by the state to account for the 2005 law.
By far the most wrenching issue was when the board had to decide whether to accept a vote from someone in the military. The person had requested an absentee ballot the previous year, but state law requires counties to send absentee ballots for two years to military personnel, despite nothing on the form telling voters they will get absentee ballots for that long.
This voter said the absentee ballot never arrived when trying to vote.
Election law, however, says people with outstanding absentee ballots cannot vote in person unless those ballots are returned. The voter could have traveled downtown from the polling place to complete a form attesting that the absentee ballot wasnt received and return to the polling place to vote, but election officials realized the immense hurdle that presents.
In the end, the vote was rejected. Meantime, the law was changed for future elections, so military personnel will have to ask for their absentee ballots annually to avoid such problems.
One of the people seeking to become Fort Waynes next mayor insists he is Summit City through and through.
We wrote last week about Republican Eric Dodens exploratory committee and the fact he recently bought a home in the city after living just outside the city border.
Doden explained in an interview that he has long been a city resident.
In 1997 after finishing law school at Valparaiso he moved into an apartment complex off Rothman Road.
He married in 1998 and bought a condominium in the Lakes of Buckingham and lived there for two years.
In 2000, his family bought a house in Cherry Hill and moved there until 2008, when Doden explains he was working in Auburn and wanted to find a place to shorten his commute. Thats when they moved a few miles outside the city.
At that time, I wasnt thinking about running for mayor, he said.
Since considering the option, Doden said he has put his house up for sale and moved back into a condominium at Buckingham. He said after the house sells, he will find a better-sized home for his family in the city.
Doden said he plans to make a formal decision on whether to run for mayor by the end of January. But he said he was tipping his hand by the changes he is forcing on his wife and children.
Based on what I know today, we will see this race through, he said.
A blogger on Politico.com recently reported that Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels had a power lunch last Sunday with Democrat Evan Bayh at a Chipotle in Maryland.
The blogger said a reader e-mailed him with the information, noting they have a lot to talk about: Bayhs considering running for Daniels job in 2012, and Daniels eyes the post Bayh long coveted.
There was just one slight problem – Daniels left the day before the alleged lunch on a trade mission to China.
Daniels spokeswoman Jane Jankowski joked that the plane didnt even fly over Maryland.
After Jankowski alerted the blogger to the governors whereabouts, he struck out the original report and said Bayh must have been dining with a Daniels look-alike.
The Fort Wayne budget has just passed the City Council and was signed by Mayor Tom Henry, but that doesnt mean its too early to start planning for next years budget.
Some members discussed ways to improve the process: from requiring members to get a co-sponsor to have a budget cut discussed, to requiring council members to discuss their cuts with the affected city department before the final vote.
Councilman Glynn Hines, D-6th, offered some advice to avoid some of the political posturing sure to occur during next years budget discussion. He said the entire process should be moved up in the year so the budget would be approved in August or September.
The pressing issue? City elections are next year, and dragging budget discussions to a week before the polls open is sure to cause some trouble, he said.
Republicans gained an even larger margin of control in the Indiana Senate in the recent election – jumping from 33 seats to 37.
Much was made of the fact that the GOP doesnt even need the Democrats to come to the floor to reach a quorum now.
But Senate Republican leadership pointed out that Republicans and Democrats have always worked well together in the Senate and that wont change.
To prove the point, an amazing statistic – during the 2010 legislative session every bill that became law received bipartisan support in the Senate and 74 percent passed unanimously.