Porter County election official calls Facebook polling numbers 'fabricated'

2013-05-07T14:00:00Z 2013-05-07T20:56:05Z Porter County election official calls Facebook polling numbers 'fabricated'John Scheibel john.scheibel@nwi.com, (219) 548-4358 nwitimes.com

VALPARAISO | A Porter County election official expressed concern Tuesday afternoon about a post to a Facebook page purporting to report the midday status of the Union Township school referendum vote.

The Future Happens Now Facebook status posted shortly after 12:30 p.m. stated, “Please vote "YES"!!!! We are behind as of 12:23 PM — 236 — Yes 281 — No.”

Kathryn Kozuszek, Democratic director of the Porter County voter registration office, called the numbers “fabrication.”

Sam DiMaio, with Future Happens Now, said the numbers were estimates from poll watchers. DiMaio said Future Happens Now compiled a list of voters who it believed would vote yes on the school referendum. The numbers on Facebook represented people it believed have voted yes. All of the others were considered no votes, so that the group would have a conservative estimate on how the voting was going, he said.

But Kozuszek said there was no way for the poll watchers or anyone in that organization to know the results. She also said there were no official numbers available before polls close at 6 p.m.

Voters in Union Township, Boone Township and Munster were asked to approve increases in their property tax to benefit their local school district.

In Union Township, voters were asked to approve an increase of just under 22 cents per $100 in assessed valuation, which would generate an additional $1 million a year, according to school officials. The proposed increase, which would be outside the state’s current tax caps, would add $65 a year to a home valued at $100,000 and $195 to a $200,000 home.

Kozuszek said she was concerned people would see that post and think the numbers were actual results.

“I don’t want voters to see that Facebook page and then decide not to vote,” she said Tuesday afternoon. “There’s no merit to those numbers.”

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