Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Commissioners ask Election Board to reconsider Valpo early voting location

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

Friday’s Porter County Election Board meeting left the County without an early voting site in Valparaiso, but the County Commissioners and County Clerk want to change that.

Clerk Karen Martin told the Commissioners that state law allows for county clerks to designate their offices to be early voting sites meaning she could arrange for early voting to take place at the County Courthouse in downtown Valparaiso where her office is.

“Its the only option I have to resolve this problem for the taxpayers and voters of Porter County,” Martin said.

Satellite locations require unanimous approval from the election board but the board could not agree on establishing one at the Voters Registration Office or anywhere in the County Administration Building.

Chairman and Republican representative of the Election Board David Bengs and Martin voted against holding voting in the Voters Registration Office because the Democratic Director Kathy Kozuszek is on the ballot and argued that candidates cannot be present in the polling place.

Other suggestions including Meeting Room 307 in the Administration bulding and the side room of the Commissioner’s Chambers were rejected by the board’s Democratic representative Katrina Spence.

The board did however agree to establish Chesterton Town Hall as a satellite location and the health department space at the North County Government Complex on Willowcreek Rd. in Portage.

Commissioner President John Evans, R-North, Tuesday said he still would like early voting in the County Administration Building and urged the Election Board to hold a special meeting this week to re-vote.

If not, he welcomed Martin’s offer to have it at the Courthouse.

“Something is better than nothing, which is what we have,” Evans said.

However, having early voting at the Courthouse would be a bit intimidating for voters because to enter you have to pass through a metal detector, Evans said.

Voting would be on the first floor of the Courthouse, Martin said, because she is running for reelection on the Republican ticket and does not want to cause “an appearance of impropriety” by having voting on the second floor where her desk is.

Commissioner Laura Blaney, D-South, agreed with the suggestions made. “We need to try to make voting as easy as possible,” she said.

Martin said she will contact her fellow board members to see if they can agree to an emergency meeting by Friday. She said time is critical because early voting is to start Tuesday, April 8.

 

Posted 3/19/2014