Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Commissioners scuttle Election Board plan to cut polling places

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By LILY REX

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 morning.

Commissioner Jeff 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,” he said.

“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 election process.”

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.

 

Posted 1/31/2018

 
 
 
 

 

 

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