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St. Joseph Board of Commissioners approve consolidating board of voter registration

On Tuesday, the St. Joseph County commissioners approved a resolution consolidating the board of voter registration to only four positions — two from each party for the board.

Community members that are still opposed to the resolution, raised questions about mistrust and fairness.

The League of Women Voters did not take an official position on the resolution, although individual league members spoke out against the measure.

South Bend resident Pam Claeys called on the county commissioners to do more research.

“Study what a couple other counties are doing. Study the pitfalls and the good things,” she said. “I don't know why we rushed this. There's no rush on it.”

The previous resolution to eliminate the board completely had been tabled at the January 17th meeting and opened for public comment. It was revised after talking with members of the public.

The commissioners said this change would save the county money. President of the County Commissioners, Carl Baxmeyer said the new board would save the county nearly $230,000. This includes money and benefits for the county employees.

South Bend resident Mike McMann said the issue is not about saving money, but the threat of the board becoming political.

“The issue isn't whether there's 50/50 Democrat or Republican, it's how that person, how those people are going to be chosen,” McMann said.

Members of the Libertarian Party of St. Joseph County called the resolution unfair to parties that were not Republican or Democrat.

Tim Cotton, chair of the party asked for more transparency on the hiring process

The Libertarian representative for the county, Elizabeth Coquillard said the 50/50 party split for the board is unreasonable – given that the country is not split that way. She called for representation for a third party to accurately represent the county’s voting habits.

Rachel Schnelle is a Reporter/Assignment editor for WVPE. She can be reached at
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