St. John wants map snafu fixed

Officials hope annexed residents can vote in town precincts in November
2010-06-06T00:05:00Z St. John wants map snafu fixedBy Vanessa Renderman -, (219) 933-3241

ST. JOHN | An election snafu that forced some recently annexed St. John residents to vote at their former unincorporated precincts still has not been untangled.

In the May 4 primary election, residents of the Tiburon and Grouse Point subdivisions, as well as those in a handful of other areas, could not vote within town limits. That's because they were not assigned precincts since a map has not been approved by the state.

No problems were reported during primary voting, but St. John officials want the situation fixed in time for the November general election, Town Manager Steve Kil said. The town sent a letter to the Lake County elections board about two weeks ago.

"We're requesting they straighten things out and assign individuals who live in St. John to a St. John precinct that will allow them to vote in town," Kil said.

The town wants the problem rectified for the general election, to eliminate confusion for the 270 to 300 households affected, he said.

Sally LaSota, Lake County elections board director, said the problem is at the state level. Her office sent new maps downstate for approval last year. The maps were reviewed this year, but the state wouldn't approve them because it is a decennial census year. The county and the town of St. John did everything right, LaSota said.

"The state denied us," she said.

Annexations cannot take place during a census year, but Tiburon and Grouse Point --the largest areas affected -- were annexed effective Jan. 1, 2009.

The county has again submitted the maps to the state for approval. Although she hopes they will be approved, LaSota said the county will be prepared for the general election in November if the maps are denied.

The process would be the same as in the primary election. During training for polling place workers, those assigned to affected precincts were instructed to give St. John ballots to those living in the affected areas. Those voters' names were highlighted in green, she said.

"There was no confusion," LaSota said.

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