Chesterton Tribune



Election Board certifies 2019 election results

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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 provisional ballot.

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 2020 election.

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.

Bengs also 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 elections anyway.

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 Tuesday.

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.


Posted 11/18/2019




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