Following the Bouncing Election Ball

Random observations and insights from Election Day thus far:

  • Seems that the Secretary of State’s election division received as many inquiries about liquor stores being open (the law was, in a common sense move, changed earlier this year to allow alcohol sales while the polls were open) than problems at the polls. Good news there.
  • A caller to The Times in Northwest Indiana bragged that he voted straight Republican today. The newspaper’s response, on its blog, was: Well, duh!
  • There were early reports (around 7 p.m.) that U.S. Senate frontrunner Dan Coats had practiced his victory speech from the podium at the Indianapolis Marriott. Guess he didn’t mind tempting fate a bit.
  • Interesting to see those U.S. Senate and other TV ads airing in the final minutes before the polls closed. Candidates seeking a last-minute push? Nah! Just the intricacies of televison scheduling.
  • Indy Star’s Matt Tully notes on Chamber webcast that all Republicans leading the congressional primaries were doing so with less than 50% of the vote (current Indiana Rep. Jackie Walorski did move up to 57% a short time later in dominating her race to challenge Joe Donnelly)

Spangle: Libertarian Party Anticipates Growth, Doubling Filed Candidates

Chris Spangle is executive director of the Libertarian Party of Indiana.

Since the closing of the polls on November 4, 2008 there has been a rush to find out exactly what a Libertarian is and why a third party may be the only viable option left for responsible government. The word is said more often now than two years ago. The failures of both Republicans and Democrats to keep their promises in the last 30 years have led to a growth of the Libertarian Party base in Indiana by Hoosiers unwilling to reform broken parties that refuse to mend. (Don’t be fooled into thinking we are all "R’s" in "L" clothing. Half of our current statewide leadership are former Democrats. It’s my vote anyways.)

We took to aggressively build our grassroots organizations. In the last year and a half, over 30 county parties began or renewed their efforts to regularly organize their county parties by outreach events and candidacies in 2010. We’ll add four more this month. We also revamped our web site at www.lpin.org and online properties to spread our message to a younger, and more receptive, audience. In fundraising, we’re close to doubling our efforts from one year ago.

Most importantly, it’s difficult to ask people to vote Libertarian if you don’t run candidates. In 2008, the party ran less than 30 federal and state level candidates combined. We anticipate that number to more than double and possibly triple. We’ll have quality candidates in all 10 federal races. For the first time ever, we had a contested federal Senate race at our version of the primary — a nominating convention. We will have anywhere from 25 to 50 candidates in the state legislative races. We nominated over 20 state legislative candidates this past weekend, and have more ballot vacancies to appoint. A complete slate of candidates is close to completion in Marion and Lake County alone.

The most important race for 2010 is the Secretary of State race. Our candidate is Greenfield resident Mike Wherry. We’ve achieved two percent in every Secretary of State’s race since 1994 to achieve consistent, automatic ballot access. We’ll need to hit that number again in 2010 to maintain automatic ballot access for the next four years. We believe now more than ever, Hoosiers need that third option. In many state legislative races, we are the second option. (At this moment, almost 38 state legislative races have one candidate.) Ballot access is crucial to the survival of our message. By achieving 10 percent we will have attained major party status, and would hold primaries (we currently have nominating conventions) and “register” Libertarian voters in Indiana. That data would greatly increase our ability to spread the libertarian message.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Out of respect for our guest bloggers, we will not be allowing anonymous comments on their blogs this week. Additionally, the Indiana Chamber does not necessarily share the opinions of our guest bloggers.

Solving the Procurement Puzzle

It’s such a big, lumbering word for what should be a straightforward process. Procurement is the 11-letter moniker for what I like to call bringing buyers and sellers together. Or simply doing business. And now a new ePortal — Indiana Supplier INsight — is in place to make the job easier for Hoosier companies.

Launched by Conexus Indiana, the powerful but easy-to-use (and free) system encourages Indiana companies to do business with other firms within the state. Businesses create searchable online profiles, while others provide detailed listings of supplier needs. The technology helps do the rest. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

"Manufacturers look at suppliers all over the country, often unaware of qualified firms right here in their own backyard," says Steve Dwyer, president and CEO of Conexus Indiana. "This initiative shines a light on these companies and helps them forge new relationships."

Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar adds, "We welcome the opportunity to provide our members with this ability to connect with fellow Hoosier businesses, benefiting both organizations and the Indiana economy. The need for such a service was evident in the Chamber’s recent work studying Indiana mid-market companies and their potential for additional growth."

Companies ready to take advantage of this system can connect online or e-mail Lisa Laughner ([email protected]), program director at Conexus Indiana. The Indiana Chamber, Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Secretary of State’s office and Indiana Department of Administration are supporting the initiative.

Those interesting in sponsorships on the Indiana Supplier INsight portal — reaching thousands of Indiana companies and their key personnel — should contact the Chamber’s Jim Wagner ([email protected]).   

Businessman Scott Schneider to Replace Sen. Lubbers

In a crowded room filled with Republican precinct committee voters and plenty of interested observers, former Indianapolis City-County Councilman Scott Schneider defeated former State Rep. John Ruckelshaus and City-County Councilman Ryan Vaughn for the Senate District 30 seat Tuesday night.  Businessman Chris Douglas dropped out of the race Tuesday morning as we reported on Twitter (@IBRG). 

The contest took two ballots to decide a winner, but Schneider nearly shocked the room by coming up just one vote shy of a majority on the first ballot (Schneider 49, Vaughn 37, Ruckelshaus 12 and one spoiled ballot).

A caucus election is notorious for voters being deceptive when it comes to who they are going to vote for, but the Schneider camp was keenly accurate on its vote counts and only missed the mark by one vote.  It is also interesting to note that the Douglas camp was equally accurate on the vote totals before pulling out.  The Douglas vote count would have also placed him in third place on the first ballot.  Many insiders were clearly surprised that 1) Vaughn did not have the lead on the first ballot and 2) Schneider nearly received a majority of the 99 votes.

On the second ballot, the only unanswered question was how many votes would shift to Schneider to give him the victory.  The answer was nearly all.  The tally on the second ballot was Schneider 61 and Vaughn 38.  Schneider gained 12 of the 13 (Ruckelshaus and spoiled) votes from the first ballot.  Kudos must be given to Schneider for his ability to win a caucus election when most observers predicted he would finish second or third.  It is also interesting to note that all three candidates felt they had enough votes committed to them to win on the first ballot.

Schneider and his family are longtime small business owners who have been involved in politics for a number of years and have an excellent track record of winning tough races.  Schneider was introduced by Rep. Cindy Noe. IBRG worked closely with Scott and his father, Bill, to help Noe win during a three-way primary.  Schneider adds a much needed voice of understanding and business community experience to the Legislature and is an individual with strong convictions.  He will likely turn in the official paperwork to the Secretary of State and the Senate Pro Tempore today and a swearing in date will soon be announced.

Please feel free to add to the conversation and post your comments or questions.

 

Scam Alert: Rokita’s Letter to Businesses About New Scam

Dear Indiana business:

I am writing to alert you of a continuing scam being perpetrated on Indiana businesses. Several businesses have reported receiving a deceptive letter that would appear to come from an official government source. The letter solicits an annual fee of $125 or $150 and claims it will be used for record keeping and processing of a company’s annual minutes. It gives the appearance of coming from a legitimate government agency and cites fictitious state law.  

Specifically, copies of the letter that have been forwarded to my office appear to come from the "Indiana Corporate Compliance Business Division." They include a return by date to give the false impression that action is necessary on your part.  

This letter is NOT an official correspondence from my Business Services Division or any other Indiana state agency. Investigators from my office are working with federal law enforcement to determine who is responsible for these letters and ensure they are stopped. If you received one of these solicitations, ignore it!  If you have already responded to such a letters and believe you are a victim of this scam, please call the Business Services Division at (317) 232-6576. 

Please also remember you can securely comply with your legitimate business entity reporting requirements to the state securely online through the INBiz portal found on my Web page at www.sos.in.gov/business. As always, my office will provide you with a courtesy reminder when your report is due to be filed. Legitimate notices from my office include the state seal of Indiana and my name.

Best regards,

Todd Rokita, Indiana Secretary of State

Ohio Still Entangled in Lawsuits from Election — the 2004 Election

The Cincinnati Enquirer published an article last week claiming Ohio taxpayers are still "on the hook" for legal fees stemming from lawsuits against the state in the 2004 election. Yikes. It states there were 23 lawsuits against the former Secretary of State, with over $1 million still needed to settle seven of the suits.

All but one of the settled cases involved election law. That one, settled for $73,139, involved a business-records suit in which a Brown County truck driver sued because his Social Security number was posted on a state Web site.

Last week, the Ohio Controlling Board OK’d payment of the latest judgment, awarding five TV networks and the Associated Press $325,521 in attorneys’ fees and expenses from a 2004 case. The lawsuit challenged (former Sec. of State Ken) Blackwell’s order to block ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, Fox News and the AP from conducting exit polling within 100 feet of the polls on Election Day 2004.

Brunner, a Democrat, fired some of the outside counsel hired to defend those cases shortly after she took office in 2007. But 13 of the cases remain active in state and federal courts, including a lawsuit that challenged Bush’s narrow re-election.

Pretty brutal considering times are tough and taxpayers need all the breaks they can get. No word yet if anyone plans to sue the Bengals for having to endure their games this season.

Hat tip to our very own Glenn Harkness for the info.

Rokita: Letter Seeking $125 Business Fee is Bogus

Businesses are having a tough enough time. Now there is someone out there trying to bilk companies out of $125 for "recordkeeping and processing of a company’s annual minutes."

Sounds fishy from the start, but the official look of the letter has drawn the attention of Secretary of State Todd Rokita’s office. His staff is working with federal law enforcement officials to determine who is responsible. They offer the following:

A letter being mailed to Indiana businesses, that would appear to come from an official government source, should be ignored. Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita announced the letter is deceptive and does not come from his Business Services Division.

It gives the appearance of coming from a legitimate government agency and cites fictitious state law. It also includes a "return by" date. The return address on some of the recent letters mailed to Indiana businesses goes to a box at a Mailboxes, Etc. store close to the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis.

Secretary Rokita is concerned businesses may be confused and believe responding to the letter takes the place of business entity reporting that is legitimately required by state law. Businesses operating in Indiana can now securely submit these reports online through the INBiz portal found on the Secretary of State’s Web page,

Businesses wishing to check the validity of any mailing from Indiana’s Business Services Division or any division of the Office of the Indiana Secretary of State should contact the Business Services Division Help Line at (317) 232-6576.

Is Time Running Out on Incumbents?

"Vote Not to Re-elect!": This well stated bumper sticker I saw on a car yesterday summed up the feelings of many voters. People are clearly sick and tired of who we currently have in office, at all levels and of all parties. Incumbents in toss-up or lean districts are vulnerable. Incumbents in safe seats may escape with a victory, but it will unlikely be with the ridiculous margins to which they’ve grown accustomed.

As of today, the Secretary of State is reporting there are 524,405 newly registered voters since the 2006 general election. This is over a half-million people in a state with very little population growth. That means that nearly 12% of voters are newly registered. This is a voting bloc that simply did not exist two years ago, yet it now makes up a significant percentage of voters.

The next question for voters will be something like this, “Do you think a legislator who has served for 34 years needs to go?” The qualifications for those challengers may not be an issue or on the minds of voters, but voters will "Vote Not to Re-elect" in large numbers this year.