Chesterton Tribune



Voting problems: Commissioners seek to extend voting hours for troubled precincts

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The Porter County Board of Commissioners was seeking this morning to extend voting hours at some eight polling places, after they failed to open on time at 6 a.m.

“The ability to vote is the keystone of our democracy,” the Board of Commissioners said in a statement released around 9 a.m. “The Porter County Commissioner’s office understands this. We know there have been some issues with polling locations opening late today. We understand the frustration of voters in these locations. We are ready to help in any capacity within our means. We implore the Election Board to take legal action to keep the polls open beyond their regular schedules.”

Commissioner Jim Biggs, R-North, told the Chesterton Tribune that, to his knowledge, eight polling places failed to open at 6 a.m., and that County Attorney Scott McClure and Election Board Attorney David Bengs were filing a motion before Porter Superior Judge Roger Bradford to “keep those locations open past 6 p.m. to make up for the time they weren’t open.”

“We’re going to have to,” Biggs said. “We have to ask a judge to order those polling locations to have extended hours, for at least the same amount of time they were closed. I don’t think anything else should be considered but an extension.”

Biggs added that the motion was being filed specifically before Bradford because he is the only Superior or Circuit court judge in the county without some kind of conflict in today’s election.

Meanwhile, Democrat Director of Porter County Voter Registration Kathy Kozuszek was able to identify seven of the polling places which opened late: Liberty 3, Westchester 13, and Portage 9, 19, 20, 25, and 31. Reasons for the tardiness varied from no inspector on site to no polling machines, no ballots, or “no one inside the place.”

And some polling places which did open at 6 a.m. were “running on skeleton crews,” Kuzuszek told the Tribune. “All Democrats or all Republicans or one of each.”

Kuzuszek’s best guess: in the neighborhood of “100 people were turned away this morning.”

Kuzuszek unhestitatingly placed the blame for this morning’s foul-ups on Porter County Clerk Karen Martin, whose office assumed jurisdiction of the election process earlier this year after the Porter County Election Board split-voted to relieve the Porter County Voter Registration Office of that responsibility. “This is Karen’s fault,” she said. “If the Clerk wanted this, she should have realized what she was taking on.”

Martin, a term-limited Republican, is running this year for Porter County Auditor.

Where is Liberty 3?

Over the last 24 hours at least three different readers have contacted the Tribune to say that the location of the Liberty 3 polling place--Liberty Township Middle School Auditorium, 50W 900N, as listed in Monday’s edition of the paper--was incorrect.

Those readers were right.

The actual location of Liberty 3 is Faith Memorial Luthern Church, 753 N. Calumet Ave.

The Tribune, however, listed the Liberty Township Middle School Auditorium in good faith, after finding it named on the obvious place to look: the Liberty 3 precinct map on the Porter County Voter Registration’s website, under the “Forms & Precinct Maps” link, where it remained uncorrected this morning.

Voters can find the correct location of Liberty 3--Faith Memorial Lutheran Church--but they have to look for it: first google “Porter County polling places”; then click on the top link, “Porter County, IN--Official Website--Polling Locations”; then click on “FIND YOUR POLL LOCATION. CLICK HERE.”

In other words, the Clerk’s Office has listed, in two different places, two different addresses for Liberty 3.



Posted 11/6/2018




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