Newest app to help voters connect

2013-10-15T19:00:00Z 2013-10-16T12:45:56Z Newest app to help voters connectLu Ann Franklin Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
October 15, 2013 7:00 pm  • 

CROWN POINT | Lake County has become the first in the state to offer voters instant access to information on whether they are registered to vote, where to vote and even be able to register instantly online.

On Tuesday, the Lake County Board of Elections and Voter Registration launched the state’s first Quick Response, or QR, code that voters can scan and use with their Smart phones and other mobile Internet devices.

Joel Rodriguez, registration administrator, presented a Power Point about the QR code system during Tuesday’s meeting at the Lake County Government Center prior to the system’s roll-out.

A QR code is a two-dimensional bar code used by businesses and organizations to offer information and special offers to users with mobile devices. The elections board will display the code on all legal notices about elections, on lists of candidates and at polling places.

“We anticipate the candidates will also use the QR code when they campaign door to door,” said Michelle Fajman, Lake County elections board director.

The QR code offers four distinct advantages for Lake County voters, she said.

The code enables citizens to connect with the elections board mobile page. There the voter can select from four icons.

One is the official website of the Lake County Board of Elections and Voter Registration. The answers to frequently answered questions will be displayed on that website.

A second icon redirects the user to the Indiana State Mobile Website to find out if he or she is currently registered to vote.

A third option is to find out where to vote during a primary or general election. Fajman said there are 530 precincts in Lake County. Polling places serve one or more precincts.

The fourth significant option for QR code users is to register online to vote. This is done instantly using such devices as iPads, iPhones and Android phones, she said.

“We hope to reduce the number of calls to the election board asking common questions,” Fajman said. “Our legal ads for elections are published on Saturdays. People have questions about the election, but there’s no one in the election board office until Monday.”

Downloading the application and connecting to the QR code are free for residents, she said.

In other business, the Lake County elections board amended its precinct plans. Two Crown Point precincts, numbers 11 and 21, were inadvertently left off the county’s plan, Fajman said.

The amended plan now includes those precincts and is being submitted to the State Election Commission for approval.

During 2013, Lake County has lost five precincts because of annexations and population changes, she said.

“By law, a precinct can have no more than 1,200 registered active voters,” Fajman said. “We are locked into this for one year.”

The first election where the changes will be noticed is the May 6, 2014, primary election, she said.

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