Chesterton Tribune



Porter County Clerk; No online campaign finance reporting yet

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Local candidates wonít be able to report campaign finance records online yet, according to Porter County Clerk Jessica Bailey.

Bailey said she looked into getting software that would allow online campaign finance reporting following Election Board discussions about how it could streamline the reporting process. She reported at Thursdayís Board meeting that state law precludes her from offering the online reporting option to local candidates.

Candidates are allowed to submit their reports in hardcopy, by fax, and by email, but she canít offer a reporting option through an online submission system, per the law. Bailey said she has appealed downstate to be able to offer the online option because itís more efficient and the current system isnít ADA compliant.

Currently, campaign finance reports are public on the Porter County website, but theyíre scanned and posted online as PDF files, which cannot be read by programs that read content aloud for the visually impaired.

Bailey said itís important to be compliant, especially since the County is working on a new website thatís supposed to be more accessible and up-to-date. ďWe need to be ADA compliant. Transparency for the community means transparency for all,Ē she said.

In other business, Bailey reported a recent candidate information session had 20 attendees who asked a lot of questions, and the presenters had great content on campaign finance and political signage. A video of the session is on the Porter County Government YouTube channel, so those interested or those who missed it can still hear the presentation.

Directorís Report

Elections Director Sundae Schoon reported 1,200 people had already voted early at the time of the meeting last week. She said itís hard to measure turnout when comparing years where there are no contested races in some communities with presidential or congressional election years, but early vote numbers are still increasing every year. The Valparaiso and Portage early voting sites remain the most used.

Schoon also reported there have been no issues with the new machines, and both County chairmen have provided their lists of poll workers early. Schoon said she was close to confirming all 244 poll workers needed for this election, with about 20 people still left to verify. A list of back-up poll workers for election day snafus is also ready to go. 160 of the confirmed poll workers have already signed up for training.

Assistant Director Becky Rauch made a reminder that poll workers need to register in advance for training--they cannot just show up to a session.

Important Dates

The Board will certify the results of the election Friday, Nov. 15. The Board decided it will hold its regular meeting for November that day as well instead of the third Thursday of the month.

Bailey made a reminder the last day to submit for an absentee ballot is Oct. 24 and Saturday early voting is available from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturdays, Oct. 26 and Nov. 2. Early voting closes at noon Monday, Nov. 4.

Posted 10/22/2019




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