EDITORIAL: Amid government stumbles, remember successes

2013-12-04T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL: Amid government stumbles, remember successes nwitimes.com
December 04, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Amid all the angst over healthcare.gov, the Obamacare signup website, there are successful examples locally of making interaction with government easier by doing more online.

Lake County Auditor Peggy Katona has a new website allowing property owners to file homestead and mortgage exemptions online instead of waiting in line.

Property owners just go to lakecountyin.org, click on the county government online portal, click on the "File Property Tax Exemptions" link, then file their applications and pay a $5.50 convenience fee.

Homeowners also can print out the forms and mail them to the auditor's office. They will be notified by email when their application is accepted or rejected.

Porter County Recorder Jon Miller also has introduced the ability to process papers online.

"The quickest way to the courthouse is to not have to go there at all," Miller said.

Customers now may submit documents electronically. That allows changes to be made quickly, if needed, instead of taking days when printed copies of the documents were used.

Miller said 90 percent of the documents his office handles are related to real estate, such as mortgages and deeds.

By sending this business online, the office workload is streamlined, Miller said.

The new electronic poll books Lake County election officials are developing would be among the first in the nation.

The electronic poll book would replace the paper version used in each of the county's more than 500 precincts.

Instead of having to find each name in the paper book, which can be a slow process, a voter's name can be checked quickly. And if the voter is in the wrong precinct, the electronic poll book could quickly send the voter to the right location.

Voting activity would be tracked in real time to prevent anyone from casting votes more than once.

The age of data processing is finally catching up with government.

There are big flops, like the Obamacare website and the failed privatization of welfare administration in Indiana, but the successes deserve recognition for making citizens' lives easier and government more efficient.

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