Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Voters to decide 2010 election on Tuesday

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

Less than a week away, Porter County’s 105,690 registered voters will have their chance to put democracy in action by casting their ballots on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 2.

A listing of candidates is available on the Porter County Voters Registration Web page which can be found under the Departments heading on the county’s Web site, www.porterco.org

Races featured in the election include a U.S. Senate race to succeed outgoing Indiana Democratic Senator Evan Bayh, state representative and senator races, a county commissioner central district race, county council district races, township boards and trustees, and a few county department head races: clerk of the circuit court, auditor, assessor, recorder, sheriff, and coroner.

Voters are also encouraged by the voters registration office to know their polling locations for their precincts before Tuesday. Democratic director of the voters office, Kathy Kozuszek, said voters are not to vote outside of their designated precincts based on where they live. If there is a change in address, registered voters who are still residing in Porter County can confirm the change with the voters registration office.

Kozuszek said voters can find their polling locations for individual precincts by going to www.indianavoters.com

A link to the Web site can also be found on the county voters registration Web page.

Kozuszek warns Web site users to be careful when typing in their full names into the voter database. The database will not recognize the name unless it is typed in correctly. “It can be very touchy,” she said.

Early Voting Going on Through Nov. 1

All of the county’s 124 precincts are however welcome to vote at the two designated locations for early or absentee voting. Anyone wishing to vote early can “walk in” at the Porter County Administration Building in Valparaiso (155 Indiana Ave.) in Room 105 today through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

A second location at the county’s north annex in Portage (3560 Willow Creek Rd.) will be open for early voting today through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The Valpo location will be open this Saturday for early voting from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Early voting will close on Monday, Nov. 1 at noon at the two county locations.

Kozuszek said the option of requesting an absentee ballot by mail has expired as of Monday this week and the office is no longer taking applications.

Overseas and military ballots are being accepted and will continue to be accepted up to ten days after the election when the official tally is confirmed by the election board on Nov. 12. The overseas and military ballots are the only types that can be received by fax or e-mail.

Poll workers who have been assigned to a precinct polling place different than the one they live in are asked to vote absentee.

Kozuszek said she has received phone calls from residents on the question of do absentee ballots get counted. There is a rumor, she said, that purports absentee ballots are only counted if there needs to be a tiebreaker in one of the races, which she said is not true.

“Each one of our absentee ballots does get counted. They are treated the same way as our regular ballots,” she said. The absentee ballots are kept locked under video surveillance until they are transported by the county sheriff’s department to their respective polling places on Election Day to be counted.

BMV Extending Hours For IDs

All precinct polling places will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Election Day. Anyone not in line to vote after 6 p.m. will be turned away by a poll judge.

Voters must have a valid form of identification with them when they go to the polls. Acceptable forms of identification include an Indiana driver’s license or state ID with picture of the voter, a U.S. passport with picture, a current military ID with picture, or a college ID with picture from a state university (i.e. Ball State, Purdue, Indiana, etc.).

IDs that have expired either on or after the 2008 election date are still considered acceptable.

For voters who currently do not have the required credentials, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles license branches will lengthen their hours so voters can obtain a state photo ID.

According to a BMV press release, full service branches will be open Monday, Nov. 1, from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 2, specifically for the purpose of processing state ID or driver’s licenses.

Written and driver tests will not be available on those days to insure immediate service to voters, the BMV said.

State-issued ID cards are free to residents who are old enough to vote, but they must however provide a proper form of identification. The applicant must provide an identity document such as a birth certificate or a passport, a Social Security document such as a Social Security card or a W-2 tax form, and two proofs of residency such as bank statements, utility bills, or a voter registration card.

If the voter’s identity cannot be confirmed by a poll worker or with the voters registration office, that person can cast a provisional ballot. Provisional ballot voters have until noon on Nov. 12, ten days after the election, to confirm their voting status with the voters registration office and have their ballot be included in the final vote.

Limited Poll Worker Spaces Available

As of Tuesday, Kosuszek said she is still in need of four more poll workers, two Democrats and two Republicans.

She said the poll worker classes ended this week so the four needed will be asked to schedule private classes. The voters registration office is also in need of stand-by workers who can sub for those who call in sick or have an emergency.

Those who are working as poll inspectors are reminded to be sworn in at the the voters registration office Saturday between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. Inspectors are in charge of the polling places and are given $135 for their work plus a $15 meal voucher. Poll judges and clerks are paid $115 plus the meal voucher.

Each site requires two clerks (one Republican, one Democrat) and two judges (one Republican, one Democrat), and by state law, a Democratic inspector.

Kozuszek said nearly 7,000 ballots in Porter County have been casted so far in early and absentee voting, now averaging over 150 ballots per day. She said during the 2008 presidential elections, the county saw 17,000 early vote ballots.

During the previous mid-term elections in 2006, the county saw a 51.58 percent voter turnout. Kozuszek expects voter turnout for 2010 to be over 50 percent again and said the county has 20,000 more registered voters in 2010 compared to 2006.

Questions?

The voters registration office will have their phone lines operating during Election Day when the polls are open. Kozuszek and Republican director Sundae Kubacki have asked that voters use these numbers if they have questions regarding their polling place or registration status: 465-3487, 465-3488, 465-3594, 465-3496, 465-3398, 465-3915.

If voters are not able to get through to the county voters registration office to see if they are registered to vote or in need of knowing their polling place location, Kozuszek said they can call the Hoosier Voter Hotline at telephone number 1-886-461-8683.

 

Posted 10/27/2010

 

 

 

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