The Porter County
Election Board certified the results of the 2019 general election and heard
updates at its meeting Friday.
The Board counted
15 provisional ballots and tossed four--one because the voter’s registration
status could not be verified, and three because they were mailed in ballots
that weren’t signed on the outer envelope.
The Board erred on
the side of caution by counting several votes that had been made on
provisional ballots for unclear reasons. Poll workers are supposed to write
on the outside of a provisional ballot envelope why the voter was given a
Porter County Clerk
Jessica Bailey reported a total of 18,715 votes were cast in the 2019
general election, with 4,608 of them absentees. 3,639 of absentee votes were
in-person votes at early voting locations. Election Day saw 14,107 voters.
Compared to the last municipal election in 2015, absentee voting just keeps
increasing, Bailey said. She advised the Board keep that in mind for the
Speaking of 2020,
Bailey said she plans to have additional teams running the central count
machine to handle the absentee ballots in 2020. They’ll be paid hourly
instead of per diem and start at 7 a.m. on election day. Bailey said the
Elections & Registration office may also work on changing some polling
locations because “they weren’t all welcoming and easy to work with.” Board
member David Bengs noted the turnout for next year will likely be
“monstrous,” so the Board should be prepared to have extra meetings leading
up to the primary and general elections.
commented that the main complaint he heard about the new voting machines was
that voters who didn’t vote straight party got a message telling them they
missed something since they didn’t make a selection on the straight party
page. Bengs said the message seems to tell voters they’ve done something
wrong by not voting straight party.
Bailey said that
notification is the same as the notification that alerts voters they’ve
missed a race, and one alert can’t be turned off unless they all are. She
noted that Election Systems & Software has until the general election next
year to work on it because Indiana voters must declare a party in primary
Bailey also updated
the Board on her idea to buy a special purpose vehicle that could
potentially be made into a mobile vote center. Bailey requested quotes from
three vendors for the vehicle, which she has said would ideally be similar
to a senior center bus, and is on the County Council’s agenda for discussion
Of approximately 80
campaign finance reports turned in, only 15 were correct, according to
Bailey. Bailey had the same expert who helped conduct the candidate
information session in October review the reports, and marked-up copies were
sent back to candidates for revisions. Most candidates were positive about
that process and appreciated that there were no fines or nitpicking
involved. Many have already resubmitted, she said.
The Board directed
its Attorney Monica Conrad to send a letter to any candidates who don’t
submit their corrections and the few candidates who never turned in their
reports. Those candidates will be required to attend the next Election Board
meeting to answer questions.
The Board will meet
next Jan. 16, 2020 at 3 p.m. End-of-year campaign finance reports are due
Jan. 15, 2020. Candidates who lost their bids for office are still required
to file end-of-year reports.