Chesterton Tribune



Election Board to invest in new voting equipment

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The Porter County Election Board discussed new equipment and early voting at its meeting Tuesday night.

The board approved the purchase of Election Systems & Software (ESS) voting equipment, pending approval by the County Council and Commissioners. Board President David Bengs reported that he sought outside financing for the purchase after ESS offered an interest rate in excess of 5 percent. He contacted First Source Bank and Horizon Bank, and ultimately Horizon bank offered the lowest rate: 2.4 percent for seven years. After a down payment is made, the first installment won’t be due until early 2019. The county will have the right to make prepayments if it so chooses.

Bengs said the new machines have touch screens and have extra options available for voters with disabilities. Filling out a paper ballot may not seem difficult to most, for example, but it presents extra challenges to those who are blind, he noted.

The new machines will still print paper ballots, however, so a manual recount would be possible. The ballots will be printed only as needed to save money in wasted ballots. As Democratic Director of the Election Office Kathryn Kozuszek observed, “Just in surplus ballots in 2016, $26,000 was wasted.”

Among the equipment on the wish list is a high-speed ballot counter that counts 3,000 ballots per minute. The board says the machine would streamline the process of counting absentee votes.

Early Voting Locations

More and more people are voting early in Porter County with each election, the board found, so it will add two new early voting locations for the primary.

The three current locations: the County Administration Center, Room 102A, 155 Indiana Ave., Valparaiso; the Porter County Government North County Complex, Rotunda area, 3560 Willowcreek Road, Portage; and Chesterton Town Hall, meeting room, 726 Broadway.

The two new locations will be: the Union Township Volunteer Fire Station 1; and the Hebron Community Center.



Posted 1/25/2018




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