VALPARAISO | The Porter County Election Board declared the county's voting machines to be in fine working order Friday for what looks to be a very busy election.
The required pre-election test of voting machines was held during the board's meeting, and all 12 machines, one chosen at random from each township, delivered expected results from test ballots. The county is required to test machines from 5 percent of the county's 123 precincts. The 12 represents about double that amount.
Kathy Kozuszek, the Democratic director of voter registration, said early voting is as high or higher than it was four years ago, with 431 people casting ballots on the first day at the three county locations and an average of about 300 a day continuing to appear. Voting appeared brisk in the voter registration office throughout the afternoon board meeting.
Kozuszek said workers are having a hard time keeping up with the phone calls from residents with questions about the election ranging from whether they are registered to where their precinct is. Two special lines have been installed just to take those calls so the staff can use the regular phones to communicate with poll workers.
Republican Director Sundae Schoon said a total of 4,374 votes were cast by the time of the meeting. She said another 500 absentee ballot requests had been sent out by the election office but had not been returned yet, and an unknown quantity of absentee forms downloaded online or sent out by the parties also are pending.
Votes have come in from mail, email and fax. The latter options are available only to the military. The deadline for applying for a ballot is Oct. 29, but Kozuszek urged residents not to wait until the last minute because of the time to process the applications and send out the ballots. Applications can be faxed to the office.
Early voting ends at noon Nov. 5, and people can vote at the main office in the county government center in Valparaiso or the two satellite offices at the North County Government Complex, 3560 Willow Creek Road, and Chesterton Town Hall, 790 Broadway. All three will be open for Saturday voting on Oct. 27 and Nov. 3 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.