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Palmyra convention interpreted as unfair

I am writing this letter to expose what many people interpreted as an unfair procedure occurring on Sunday, Aug. 18.

A Republican convention to determine the clerk-treasurer of the Town of Palmyra was held in Corydon at the Harrison County Government Center. It is unclear why the convention was held at an inconvenient location for the town residents instead of the Palmyra Town Hall or voting locations at the senior citizens’ center or Morgan Elementary School. All would have been adequate space for the convention. The convention was held on Sunday at 8 p.m., a time when most residents are preparing for their upcoming week such as school or work. On Thursday, the notice was put up on the Harrison County website announcing the date, time and place of the convention. A notice was taped to the Post Office door. The next communication was a telephone call, received at 5:24 on Sunday evening from Scott Fluhr, county chairman of the Republican Party. This is when I was advised that this is not a public event and only qualified voters would be admitted.

More than 20 Republican citizens of the Palmyra town area were denied entrance to the convention due to not having voted Republican in the past three primary elections. This is where it gets ugly. The rule that states that the qualifying criteria for voting are past three consecutive primaries as a Republican OR ….

The OR part of the rule, pursuant to Indiana Code 3-8-5-12 Rule 1, Part ii, says that the citizen has an option to sign a paper that says he/she will vote Republican in the upcoming municipal election (Republican party form IRSC/VO-1). This is to be counter-signed by the county chairman. If there is an objection, the chairman is to follow the instructions of rule 3. He is to announce person’s name asking for a vote from the already qualified members regarding their admission and voting privilege. (This list of rules for this specific convention, were available for voters once inside the convention area.) After a few shouting matches and very rude and obnoxious behavior on the part of Mr. Fluhr, where he announced that whatever he did was all right, it is his discretion how he ran this convention, he refused to sign off on anyone and the option of the aforementioned option was never presented to anyone.

In my opinion, this was a slap in the face to the people of the Town of Palmyra that went to the trouble of traveling 15 miles at an inopportune time of evening with little notice to do their civic duty for the town they live in. The appointment of an elected official directly affects these people and their livelihoods, and yet, they were not permitted to vote. Surely, this is not the practice that is common or accepted among the Republican party.

Deborah A. Hess | Palmyra, Ind.