Board member Jeff
Chidester sought answers at yesterday’s Porter County Election Board meeting
on how inspectors will be paid for working the polls.
The Porter County
Council approved significant pay increases for all poll workers earlier this
year following problems with the November 2018 election. Chidester reported,
however, that several workers who signed up to be inspectors have approached
him thinking they would be paid $50 for each precinct they oversee on
election day in addition to their per diem.
Porter County Clerk
Jessica Bailey reported that isn’t the case, though the pay raise included a
provision for inspectors to be paid for unexpectedly taking on extra
precincts at a rate of $50 each. Inspectors who are assigned one location
where they must oversee multiple precincts will not be paid $50 for
each one. An inspector who’s asked to take on an extra precinct due to an
absence on election day, for example, will be paid the extra $50.
Bailey said the
confusion originates from the difference between local election boards and
precincts. Plenty of polling locations are serving multiple precincts this
election, as some were consolidated for just 2019 due to a lack of contested
races in certain areas and associated expected voter turnout. This is
business as usual for local elections.
Bailey noted that
judges are being cross-trained to be more helpful to inspectors, and said
inspectors won’t be overloaded because extra judges will be available at
locations with multiple precincts.
The Board approved
polling locations for the 2019 general election. Assistant Elections
Director Becky Rauch reported postcards have been sent to every voter whose
polling place is different for the 2019 election. 244 workers will staff the
40 locations. Bailey also reported she had scheduled poll worker training.
Those who worked in 2018 will be paid $25 to take a refresher course, and
new poll workers will attend the full three-hour training session and be
paid $50 for that time.
The Board also
approved the 2019 general election ballots. They asked Bailey to notify them
if changes are necessary and authorized her to make any further needed
changes, as early voting starts before the next Board meeting.
Bailey reported the
Towns of Kouts and Ogden Dunes gave notice they’re not interested in holding
elections this cycle due to not having contested races. The Board approved
not holding elections in those Towns.
Bailey reported she
and Elections Director Sundae Schoon looked into software for online
campaign finance reporting following a discussion at last month’s meeting.
After attending a
webinar on the topic, Bailey said it looks like having online campaign
finance reporting “will be hugely beneficial not only to the office, but
also to the candidates and the PACS that submit reports.”
Bailey said the
system features automated text messages and emails that will remind
candidates when to report. The system can also track missed deadlines and
impose late fees. Candidates who prefer a paper report can still fill one
out and upload it as a PDF on what Bailey calls a “ very user friendly”
The vendor Bailey
and Schoon spoke with, Easy Campaign Finance Reports, is working on quoting
a price for the software.
Elections Division staff have called and confirmed all 40 polling locations.
Also, 18 nursing homes will be stops for the travel voting board this year.
Staff have coordinated with the nursing homes to make sure residents who
want to vote are registered.
So far, 45 people
have requested absentee ballots. Absentee ballots are required per state law
to be mailed-out by Saturday, and will be in the mail Friday, Rauch said.
Bailey made a
reminder the candidate information session is Saturday, Oct. 5 from 9 to 11
a.m. at the Administration Building, 155 Indiana Avenue, Valparaiso.
The last day to
register to vote in the 2019 general election is Oct. 7, and early voting
begins Oct. 8. There will be a public test of the election equipment Oct. 4.