Curtis Hill

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill is telling the Indiana Election Commission to stay on task in reconfiguring Lake County's unwieldy voter precincts. But The Times Editorial Board says the county never should have allowed it to get this far.

State Attorney General Curtis Hill is rightly trying to light a fire under the Indiana Election Commission to consolidate Lake County's inefficient and unwieldy glut of voter precincts.

But the real root of the problem is Lake County government's inability to come up with its own workable plan — a glaring symptom of partisan foot-dragging.

The whole mess should serve as a lesson in the need for local government to deal with bad government messes before the state is compelled to step in.

With the May primary fast approaching, Lake County is on the cusp of yet another Election Day with 283 of its 523 voter precincts containing fewer than 600 active voters.

That's when consolidation — for good government's sake — should kick in. The parameter was set by the Legislature in a 2017 precinct consolidation law.

Under that law, the Lake County elections board, made up of three Democrats and two Republicans, had the first crack at creating a workable consolidation plan.

But they were unable to agree, invoking another edict in the law that put the mess on the Indiana Election Commission's desk.

Last year, the state commission failed on two separate attempts at drafting a Lake County voter precinct plan.

Earlier this week, Attorney General Hill told the state commission that its impasse isn't good enough.

We only wish a position of authority could have done the same on the local level.

Hill noted the state commission chairman "pursuant to statute, should reconvene the commission for this purpose, and it should remain in session until such time as an order is developed and agreed upon."

It's unfortunate the state must be involved, and it's a clear symptom of partisan sickness that brings efforts toward good and efficient government to a standstill throughout our nation.

At least now that the Indiana Election Commission holds sway over the matter, the attorney general can be an authoritative voice compelling action.

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Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Local News Editor Marc Chase, Lake County Editor Crista Zivanovic, Porter/LaPorte County Editor Doug Ross and Deputy Local Editor Erin Orr.