Early voting numbers indicate Porter County’s registered voters are not as
energized as they were in the 2008 presidential election according to Voters
Registration Directors Democrat Kathy Kozuszek and Republican Sundae Schoon.
The pair reported to the County Election Board that approximately 570
residents have voted since early and absentee voting began on April 9 for
the 2012 primary elections, and that total turnout is not likely to come
anywhere close to the 17,000 voters seen in the 2008 primary.
Kozuszek said she cannot explain why there is such a difference this year
given the 23 contested races on the Republican ticket, which besides county
races includes presidential, U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, Governor,
state representatives and a few state senators. Democrats have only five
contested races on their ballots which include one county commissioner race,
a county council at-large race and a few state convention delegate races.
Out of the county’s three locations for early voting, Schoon said the new
Chesterton site has seen the highest volume because of the Duneland Schools
referendum. Many voters there are voting strictly on the referendum rather
than casting a party ballot because it’s something that they know will
affect them, Kozuszek said.
Kozuszek said she has heard many people say “my vote doesn’t count” which
she said is not true because during last year’s municipal elections a
16-year incumbent on the Portage City Council was defeated by a single vote.
Nonetheless, the board anticipates the overall turnout will be weak at the
county’s 126 voting precincts.
“It’s going to be bad this year,” said Democratic election board member J.J.
The county spent a total of $45,000 on the cost of printing and coding the
ballots regardless of what the turnout may be. Kozuszek said county
taxpayers “might as well come out and use their money” for a good cause.
As required by state regulations, the election board successfully tested 12
voting machines Friday which is 10 percent of what will be used at the polls
on Primary Election Day, May 8.
In another matter, Board president and Republican member Patrick Lyp
informed his peers he works in the same office as one of the Republican
candidates for Porter County Council at-large, Ethan Lowe, and would recuse
himself if need be should a matter come up involving Lowe’s placement on the
Early voting continues until noon on May 7. Locations and times include the
Porter County Administration Building (155 Indiana Ave., Valparaiso) in Room
105 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; the county’s North
Complex in Portage (3560 Williowcreek Road) from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Monday through Friday; and the Chesterton Town Hall (790 Broadway) from 8:30
a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The county administration building will have early voting the two Saturdays
before the election, April 28 and May 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Kozuszek and Schoon said they are hoping the number of poll workers for the
May 8 election will improve. There are still plenty of chances to sign up
for an instruction class this next week. All workers are required to attend
at least one class.
The schedule of classes is as follows: Monday, April 23 (10 a.m.), Tuesday,
April 24 (10 a.m., 2 p.m.), Wednesday, April 25 (2 p.m.), Thursday, April 26
(6 p.m.), Saturday, April 28 (2 p.m.), Tuesday, May 1 (10 a.m., 6 p.m.) and
Wednesday, May 2 (2 p.m.).
All sessions will be held in Room 205 of the Porter County Administration
Poll judges and clerks will receive a stipend of $110 for their work and
inspectors will receive $135. Each worker will receive a $15 meal voucher.
The election board has approved 16 year-olds and 17 year-olds to work as
poll judges and clerks as long they have written permission from their
Anyone interested in being a worker should call the voters registration
office at 465-3496 or 465-3594.