Coin toss settles tie in precinct chair election for Democrats: Alessia Modjarrad

Alessia Modjarrad will be the new precinct chair for the Bloomington 23 precinct, a predominantly university student area on the north side of town.

That was the outcome of a coin flip on Friday afternoon, which settled a tie between Modjarrad and Karen Granger in Tuesday’s elections.

Presiding over the coin toss was Democratic Party chair David Henry. Under Indiana Democratic Party rules, it’s the county chair who determines how to break the tie. Continue reading “Coin toss settles tie in precinct chair election for Democrats: Alessia Modjarrad”

Early in-person voting kicks off for Monroe County

The trademark blue former NAPA building at 3rd and Walnut streets, just south of the new parking garage and west of the downtown transit center, is the new home to Monroe County’s voting operations.

Tuesday was the first day of in-person early voting for the May 3 primary elections.

At 8 o’clock sharp, Monroe County clerk Nicole Browne emerged from the front door to perform the ritual that marked the start of the voting day.

Browne raised her voice to the overcast sky: “Hear ye, hear ye, the polls are now open!”

In the first half hour of voting, only a handful of voters cast a ballot. By then, light rain was falling on the few candidates and volunteers who had come to canvas the early voters.

By around 4 p.m., the count of early voters had reached just 58. For the general election in 2020, Monroe County averaged more than 1,000 early in-person voters a day. It’s not surprising that  interest in the primary elections, between presidential election years, is comparatively lower.

Browne told The B Square earlier in the morning that she’d heard from other county clerks in the state that the number of requested absentee ballots was down compared to 2020. Continue reading “Early in-person voting kicks off for Monroe County”

Monroe County Democrats choose human rights lawyer Shruti Rana as vice chair

At a caucus held by Zoom video conference on Sunday, the Monroe County Democratic Party chose Shruti Rana as its vice chair.

The image of Shruti Rana is a B Square file photo from El Mercado on Elm Street in summer of 2021. She addressed the gathering on the topic of voting rights.

Rana is assistant dean at Indiana University’s Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies. As a legal scholar, she focuses on international and human rights law.

Her local government service includes the current chairship of the county’s election board and membership on the city of Bloomington’s five-member board of public safety.

The vacancy in the vice chair position for the county party arose when Jennifer Crossley resigned as chair, because she was selected at a caucus in mid-December 2021 as the replacement on the seven-member county council for Eric Spoonmore. Spoonmore resigned from the county council when he took the top job at the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce.

At a caucus a couple of weeks ago, the Democrats chose David Henry as county chair to replace Crossley. But Henry had been vice chair, which left a vacancy in that spot.

On Sunday, Rana’s selection as vice chair was uncontested. The caucus was conducted on a Zoom video conference. Continue reading “Monroe County Democrats choose human rights lawyer Shruti Rana as vice chair”

First Black woman chosen by Monroe County Dems for council: “Yes, I am my ancestors’ wildest dreams.”

Jennifer Crossley was chosen at Sunday afternoon’s Democratic Party caucus to fill the vacant seat on the seven-member Monroe County council.

That means she’ll be stepping down as chair of the Monroe County Dems. Instead of Crossley, presiding over the caucus proceedings on Sunday was party vice chair David Henry.

The caucus was held in the auditorium of the Monroe County Public Library.

In her remarks delivered before the vote, Crossley said, “I’m running to fill this seat because I truly feel and believe that representation matters. And it is important to me that individuals from different backgrounds, lived experiences, and socio-economic statuses are in elected positions and get a seat at the table.”

Crossley added, “And as a Black woman, I feel that I bring this to this table. This is a historic moment in our county and our party, because if voted in this caucus today, I would be the first Black woman to serve on the county council.”

Crossley wrapped up her point by saying, “Yes, I am my ancestors’ wildest dreams.” Continue reading “First Black woman chosen by Monroe County Dems for council: “Yes, I am my ancestors’ wildest dreams.””