Some voting precincts in Porter County have outgrown the state-recommended
limit of active voters and that could mean changes in the future.
At Tuesday’s County Election Board meeting, Voter Registration Democratic
Director Kathy Kozuszek and Republican Director Sundae Schoon said some
precincts have “too many” voters and they would look at ways to begin
evening them out.
Board attorney Clay Patton said according to a state law, counties can
change precincts or establish new ones as long as they don’t cross the
threshold of 1,200 active voters, or in some cases 1,400.
Kozuszek said due to population shifts election officials combined or
eliminated a handful of precincts at the beginning of this year including in
Westchester Twp. where precincts 2 and 12 were combined with 9 and 15,
She said the office is “comfortable with the way it is now” with the current
123 precincts but would do some canvassing at the start of next year for
population maps the board can look at.
Board president and Republican representative Patrick Lyp said this will be
a good time to make changes since there are no county or municipal elections
next year. Precinct modifications can made at any time as long as they are
done before filing begins for candidates, which next will be January 2014,
For the voters, Lyp said the biggest possible change would be to have to
vote at a different location.
In attendance were two representatives from the Town of Ogden Dunes,
Clerk-Treasurer Jean Manna and Town Council member Paul Panther, who
proposed minor changes to their five town council wards.
“It’s not much different than it was ten years ago,” Panther said.
The state this year is requiring municipalities to redistrict based on
population data from the 2010 Census.
Manna and Panther said the town wishes to keep its five-ward structure as
opposed to having an all At-Large member board which is an option for towns
with a population of less than 3,500. Ogden Dunes’ population is a little
more than 1,100, Panther said, which is 600 less than the previous Census.
Redistricting is to be done not through the Election Board but through an
ordinance the town would have to file with the County Clerk’s office 30 days
after it is passed.
Kozuszek said there have been some issues and confusion in the past with
redistricting as it can change who can potentially run in the districts.
After a redistricting, candidates are asked to check with the Voters
Registration office about what office or seat they can run for.
savings in new contract
Also on Tuesday, the board learned from Indiana Regional Manager
for Election Systems and Software Jeremy Burton that if the County chooses
to renew a four-year contract with ES&S, the contract would be $46,500 less
than the previous four-year contract.
Burton said the contract would be good until 2016, the next presidential
election. He said the relationship ES&S has had with Porter County has been
“very successful” and they would like to offer a discount.
ES&S is the largest provider of election equipment in Indiana, Burton said
Lyp said he would favor the renewal but since his other board members
Democrat representative J.J. Stankiewicz and County Clerk Karen Martin were
not present, he delayed a motion until they can agree on a time to meet
which would be in the next week. Burton said he would need the board’s
decision by Dec. 31.
Lyp said the board has made the County Commissioners aware of the need for
more space to house the voting machines and if that is achieved the County
could see additional savings in decreased maintenance costs.