CROWN POINT | The Lake County election board voted Tuesday to keep polling places for the May 7 referendum in Munster unchanged from last year's locations.
School officials will ask town voters to raise taxes 19.9 cents per $100 of assessed valuation to prevent significant cutbacks in school operations.
A school attorney asked election officials to consolidate the town's 13 polling places to save some of the anticipated $20,000 cost of conducting the referendum during a year when no other elections take place.
However, Kevin Smith, an election board member, said changing polling places for only one year could confuse voters.
Locations include: Eads Elementary School, Munster High School, Munster Fire Station 2, Munster Town Hall, Wilbur Wright Middle School, Carmelite Hall, Elliot Elementary School, Frank Hammond Elementary School, Munster Community Social Center, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Fairmeadow Church of the Nazarene, Centennial Park and the Munster branch of the Lake County Public Library.
The election board also agreed to open early in-person voting April 22 at the election board's office in the Lake County Government Complex in Crown Point and in Munster Town Hall.
Early-voting hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. Early voting ends at noon May 6.
In other business, the election board forgave fines it previously imposed for campaign finance reporting violations on: Calumet Township Trustee Mary Elgin, Lake County Coroner Merrilee Frey, Lake Station City Judge Christopher Anderson, Hammond City Judge Jeffery A. Harkin and Gary Councilwoman Kimberly Robinson.
The board reduced a $200 fine to $50 for East Chicago Councilwoman Myrna Maldonado.
It will be sending collections letters demanding about 60 other candidates or political committees pay thousands of dollars in fines for failing to disclose their campaign finances. Some violations date back to the 1990s.