Two voting precincts in Westchester Twp. will be merged with two others in
restructuring currently being sought by officials in the Porter County
voters registration office.
Plans show that Westchester 2 will be combined with Westchester 9, while
Westchester 12 will absorb Westchester 15.
Similar mergers are proposed in Portage, but the county’s voter office plans
to match the number of precincts being eliminated with those being added.
When all said and done, the county should still have a total of 124 voter
Republican director Sundae Schoon and Democratic director Kathy Kozuszek
presented proposed changes to the county commissioners Tuesday covering the
entire county. The county will do away with eight precincts and add eight in
areas where population numbers are rising.
In the north, Liberty and Jackson townships will both get two additional
precincts. Precincts will also be added in south county in Morgan, Porter
and Union townships.
“We’ve really grown in ten years,” said Kozuszek.
Precinct restructuring occurs every ten years following the national census.
Population data is looked at to see which areas in the county are increasing
in density and, with the help of the county surveyor, the voters office can
guess where population figures will be in the next ten years.
The Indiana Election Division caps precincts at a 1,200-voter maximum which
is why the rearranging of district lines is necessary.
The team also sought guidance from Michelle Brzycki, special projects
coordinator with the Indiana Election Division and a Chesterton native.
Polling location changes, if any, will be determined at a later date but
Schoon said the office will try to retain as many of the same locations as
possible to keep confusion to a minimum.
Commissioner President John Evans, R-North, said he would like to
consolidate as many polling places as possible.
The voters office will also be in charge of redrawing the county’s council
district boundaries, the biggest changes being considered are adding South
Haven precincts to District 2 which includes a large majority of Portage
Schoon said she hopes the new maps will be structured by townships rather
than just precincts themselves. For example, District 1 encompassing
Duneland contains one precinct in Portage Twp. and one or two others in
Center Twp. and breaking off from those fragments would make it difficult
for voters to understand which council district they live in, Schoon said.
The commissioners have the final say over where the lines are drawn and are
expected to do so early next year.
The changes will take effect for the 2012 primary elections in May.
In a related matter, former state representative Ralph Ayres, who has made
the push for the county to open a satellite location for early voting in the
Duneland area, told the Chesterton Tribune the Chesterton/Duneland
Chamber of Commerce announced their support for the initiative earlier this
Two possible locations for the site include the Chesterton Town Hall and the
Westchester Thomas Library.