Unification Opposition Disenfranchising Voters: Commissioner Joe Kiefer Champions Unification


Joe Kiefer

Unification Opposition Disenfranchising Voters

Community leaders reacted strongly today at efforts to prevent Vandeburgh residents from voting on a Plan of Reorganization this fall. The plan would merge city and county councils, as well as the executive branches. However, taxes, zoning, and law enforcement would remain separate according to current city and county boundaries.

Opponents of the plan filed a complaint filed with the Vanderburgh County Election Board, contending that certain signatures needed to get the referendum on the ballot were invalid. Although the signatures were certified by the County Clerk in late 2009, today’s challenge was filed just months before the election in an apparent act of desperation.

“The opponents of unification do not understand the plan and its obvious benefits to our community,” said County Commissioner Joe Kiefer. He added, “It’s an effort to disenfranchise voters by not allowing citizens of Vanderburgh County a say in this important issue. Additionally, this challenge is an unnecessary expense for tax payers. Let the voters decide this issue on November 6th.”

To trigger the referendum process, state law required the signatures of at least 5 percent of county voters who cast ballots in the 2006 Secretary of State race. Official election results put that number at 2,632.

Roberta Heiman and the organization she now leads, the League of Women Voters, helped gather many of the signatures. “I’m confident that County Clerk Susie Kirk did a thorough job and that we collected the required number of signatures. In fact, we collected many more than were required by the state law.”

Over 3,300 signatures were collected across the community, and after a thorough review, 2,757 were ultimately certified by the Clerk’s Office. Supporters of the Plan of Reorganization have focused their campaign on educating residents on the tremendous opportunities that passage will bring. Said Kiefer, “We’ll continue to work hard communicating with every voter and making sure they have all the facts about how this important initiative will build a better future for each of us.”

Source: Yes for Unification


  1. Joe Kiefer has a lot of gall talking about disenfranchisement after what the county commissioners did with the rejection threshold for those who live outside of Evansville.

    But that is not the issue. the issue is, by his own words, this”

    “Opponents of the plan filed a complaint filed with the Vanderburgh County Election Board, contending that certain signatures needed to get the referendum on the ballot were invalid.” (Kiefer)

    That is a straight forward issue and it will be resolved one way or the other, but for Kiefer to be on here complaining about the PROCESS as “an attempt to disenfranchise voters” shows a disturbing lack of understanding about the rights of voters.


    • Come on Press, everyone who knows Kiefer knows if there were an IQ requirement or an ISTEP test to run for office that he would never make it to the ballot. Is he related to Missy?

      • He was certainly more than willing to take direction from Jonathan Weinzapfel. It sort of lends credence to those who argue that we do not have an R party or a D party, but rather a good ole’ boy party.


  2. It is too bad that the local Democrat party couldn’t find someone to run against Kiefer. Just shows you how weak the Democrats are, Kiefer would be easy to beat he is an insider and has been in office way too long. Sooner or later the voters will be tired of the same good old boy politics that have been running the city and county for decades. Kiefer, Winnecke, Williams different names, same game.

  3. So the Kiefer is basically saying he’d rather put an ILLEGAL question on the ballot than no question at all?
    That’s dumb.
    Another reason to VOTE NO if it does make it on the ballot.

  4. Actually it appears that what will get the ballot question thrown off the ballot is the fact that the composers of the ballot question did not follow State Statute by identifying the specific day the vote was to take place.

    State Statute is not something to be trifled with, especially where elections and voter initiatives are concerned, and nullifying statute in this case would set a precedent for the whole State.


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