Winfield early voting site in dispute

2014-03-26T12:00:00Z 2014-04-16T16:44:08Z Winfield early voting site in disputeBill Dolan bill.dolan@nwi.com, (219) 662-5328 nwitimes.com
March 26, 2014 12:00 pm  • 

WINFIELD | A candidate for Winfield Township trustee wants election officials to move the town's early voting site out of her opponent's office.

Town Councilwoman Paulette Skinner filed a complaint Wednesday protesting the bipartisan Lake County election board's designation of the Winfield Township trustee's office, 10645 Randolph St., as one of eight locations where county voters can cast ballots the month before the May 6 primary.

Skinner's grievance form states, "The Winfield Township early voting location interferes with the township food pantry. Both early voting and food pantry sign-in are in the same reception area, approximately 12 feet apart.

"This arrangement infringes on the privacy and dignity of the clients needing the pantry and requiring assistance from the trustee," she said.

Skinner, who is seeking to unseat Winfield Township Trustee Roland "Rollie" Brauer Jr. in the Republican primary, said she isn't suggesting Brauer's proximity interferes with integrity of the voting process.

Brauer said Wednesday his office has protected the privacy of food pantry clients from public view during three years of elections cycles when the office has been an early voting site.

He said the pantry is in a separate room and his staff works to shorten the time pantry clients have to be in the office. He said anyone applying for food or other township assistance is questioned in his office, behind a close door, to protect their privacy as well.

Michelle Fajman, county elections director, said the election board will take up the issue April 7, the day before early voting begins.

Voting also is scheduled at the election board office, Lake County Government Complex, 2293 N. Main St., Crown Point; the Gary Public Safety Building, 555 Polk St.; satellite county courthouses at 3711 Main St., East Chicago, and 232 Russell St., Hammond; Munster Town Hall, 1005 Ridge Road; St. John Township assessor's office, 9155 U.S. 41, St. John; and Lowell Town Hall, 501 E. Main St.

Early voting hours run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday from April 8 to May 2 at the Crown Point location, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the eight other locations.

Weekend early voting will take place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 26, and Saturday, May 3, in Crown Point, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on those days at the other locations.

The final day of early voting will be May 5.

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