Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

March 19, 2013

Letters to the editor - Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Precinct changes worrying to some

Your Wednesday lead story concerning precinct maps is worrying. Precincts exist for the convenience of voters and election officials during elections. Traditionally, precincts were established after the various election districts are determined by the officials elected from them. What you described in your article has the proverbial “tail wagging the dog”.

After the 2010 census and the start of the required redistricting, I found a presentation on the State of Indiana website, by the Indiana Election Division, titled “2011 Election Administrators Conference, A Redistricting Guide for County Election Officials”. It describes the traditional process for redistricting: the decennial census is taken and published; the Statehouse and Senate adopt new election districts for the state’s congressional districts, state senators and state representatives; they are followed by the county commissioners adopting county commissioner and county council districts; then the city councils and town boards adopting election districts for their seats; and finally, county election officials prepare precinct maps for approval by the county commissioners after review by the state. Each level of government prepared their election districts without any influence from the other levels. The precinct maps were created starting with adding all of the various district lines onto one map and dividing the resulting areas into voting precincts.

So, which state law or state rule has changed the process? Is this situation a result from the city council not knowing where the city limits will be, since they have several large annexations working their way through the legal process? Or, is it a power grab by the state political parties to predetermine local districts by limiting local officials to using the state approved precincts.

Glen Boise, Kokomo

Too much at stake with Hoosiers’ health

From the federal fiscal-cliff discussions to the issue of state level Medicaid expansion, ideological stand-offs continue to be an obstacle to reasonable dialogue and effective policy making.

No matter your political stance on the Affordable Care Act, it is now law. Indiana has the opportunity to join 26 other states in accepting the federal dollars already designated to adequately fund Medicaid and increase access to affordable health care.

Under current Indiana law, non-disabled, non-pregnant, childless adults under 65 cannot get Medicaid no matter how poor they are. Increased access to health care for everyone ensures a healthier, happier, more productive Indiana.

Too much is at stake for Hoosiers to be left behind: 30,000 jobs, $108 million in new state and local tax revenue per year, and the health and lives of an estimated 450,000 hard-working Hoosiers.

Rather than reinventing the wheel, Indiana should join other states and a network of support in expanding and improving Medicaid.

Lindsay Helmbock, Citizens Action Coalition, Indianapolis