There will be no
polling place consolidation or new voting equipment this year.
Such was the
decision of the Porter County Commissioners at their meeting Tuesday
Good, R-Center, opened the meeting by reading a prepared statement regarding
the Election Board’s proposal to purchase new equipment and reduce polling
places from 86 to 46.
According to the
Commissioners, the Election Board has not done due diligence to prove the
viability of the proposed new polling locations nor to plan for a public
information campaign that would ensure voters know their new polling places.
As the County Council did at its meeting last week, the Commissioners
question both the cost of the equipment and the feasibility of the proposed
polling locations, and Good gave the Porter County Expo Center as an
example: It wouldn’t work as a new polling location due to construction
planned later in the year, he said. Good added that the new equipment which
the Election Board wants to purchase also requires stable wireless Internet,
which may not be available or reliable at every location.
The primary is 11
weeks away, and early voting starts in seven, Good noted as well. The
equipment would have to be ordered, delivered, and programmed in time to
train poll workers. “As confusion, questions, and misinformation are still
prevalent, obviously not enough time was spent on planning and execution,”
“In reviewing these
proposals,” Good concluded, “the Board of Commissioners must prioritize the
impact on voters as the most important concern. The right to vote is sacred
and fundamental to our democracy. It is paramount that the decision of this
Board protect the rights of voters as well as maintain their trust in our
Following that, the
Commissioners opted to return the proposals to the Election Board, urging
the Board to revise its plans and present them again this fall so any
financial needs can be considered for inclusion in the 2019 budget.