Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

November 4, 2012

Public eye - Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012

By Ken de la Bastide and Scott Smith
Tribune columnists

Election Day reality

Matthew Gall, running for a seat on the Tipton County Board of County Commissioners against incumbent Republican Mike Cline, is well aware of the county’s voting patterns.

During the candidate meet-and-greet last week hosted by the Tipton Chamber of Commerce, Gall said he was running as a Democrat in a Republican county because it needs to be done.

In the past four years, has anyone asked what’s wrong with Tipton County?, Gall asked.

“President Obama has never called me asking for advice,” he said.

“My opponent has done a job, not the best,” Gall said. “It’s easy to point fingers, but hard to bring about change.”

No disclaimer?

Howard County Republican Party Chairman Craig Dunn filed a complaint with the Howard County Clerk’s office concerning an advertisement in the Kokomo Perspective placed by Democrat Paul Munoz.

Munoz is one of only two local Democrats on the ballot seeking election to a county office. Dan Alexander is running for surveyor against Republican Dave Duncan.

Munoz is running for one of the three at-large seats on the county council against GOP incumbents Stan Ortman, Jeff Stout and James Papacek.

Dunn’s complaint was that Munoz’s advertisement didn’t include the necessary disclaimer stating who paid for the ad.

Clerk Kim Wilson said normally when that happens, she contacts the candidate and informs them to correct the omission. Since the ad appeared in a weekly publication, it’s not known if the Munoz ad will appear again on Election Day.

What’s the strategy?

Republicans suspect by having Munoz as the only candidate for an at-large seat on the council, Democrats are hoping to “single shot” the candidate.

In theory, Munoz could win if he’s able to attract one of the three votes in the contest away from one of the Republican Party candidates.

Republicans believe that Munoz’s only chance of winning a seat on the council is by defeating Papacek, who lost two years ago in the primary election to John Roberts for a district seat on the council.

The strategy could be doomed from the start if there are a large number of GOP straight ticket votes.

Vote early

Just a reminder, if you can’t make it to vote on Tuesday, early voting will still be available at the courthouses in Howard, Miami and Tipton counties from 8 a.m. to noon Monday. Just bring a state-issued photo ID.

We called all three courthouses to find that information, as none of it was available online.

The Tipton County Clerk website had no voter information whatsoever; the Miami County office’s website had outdated early voting information from 2011; and the Howard County office’s website had outdated early voting information from 2006.

Not so boring

Usually the retention votes for Indiana Supreme Court judges are a non-issue, but for the first time, the Associated Press will be collecting real-time voting information on the judge votes.

The reason? Indiana’s new chief justice, Steven David, is up for a retention vote. Voters will remember David as the architect of the controversial Barnes vs. State of Indiana decision, which set limits on the right of a citizen to resist police intrusions into the home. We will see how he fares. If more than 50 percent of voters elect to retain a judge, he stays.