STATEMENT OF THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF THE SOUTH BEND AREA
On Resolution R-1-C-2023 Consolidating the Board of Voter Registration
Consistent with our previous statement, the League of Women Voters of the South Bend Area is not taking a position for or against the resolution (R-1-C-2023) to consolidate the Board of Voter Registration and designate the Circuit Court Clerk as the voter registration officer of St. Joseph County.
We do want to publicly thank the commissioners for delaying the vote, listening to the public, answering our questions in writing, and meeting with us. We also want to thank them for providing details about the estimated cost savings and how they will be obtained and deleting the most controversial part of the resolution which entitled the clerk authority to appoint anyone, regardless of political affiliation, rather than sustaining a 50/50 partisan split in the event that another employee was needed to produce an even number of voter registration specialists.
Since meeting with representatives of the Board of Commissioners we have received numerous questions and heard concerns from League members and non-members alike. We recognize that there are still concerns with this proposed change to the way the county handles voter registration.
We commend the commissioners for taking public input seriously and encourage them to listen to ongoing concerns by providing at least one more opportunity for public feedback before taking a final vote on the revised resolution. During this time, we also encourage consultation with clerks in other counties who oversee the voter registration operations in their counties to learn about their experience, including best practices to implement and pitfalls to avoid.
By providing one more opportunity for the public to voice their questions and concerns – and by responding directly to those concerns – the Board of Commissioners will have demonstrated a commitment to representative democracy and citizen participation.
Whatever the final outcome, we look forward to working with county officials in charge of voter registration to ensure that eligible voters have the information and access they need to exercise their right to vote.