CROWN POINT | Lake County's election director said she is pleased with the debut performance of the electronic poll book on the first day of early voting.
"Overall, I think it went extremely well," Michelle Fajman said Wednesday.
The electronic, or epoll, replaces the paper poll books elections officials have used to track voters to ensure they don't cast more than one vote in any single election, and whether they have become inactive and must register again as a voter for future elections.
She said it was used to record all 215 votes cast Tuesday at nine locations in Lake and will be used in the next three weeks and on Election Day Nov. 4.
She said the digital poll books now perform much like the old system during the early-voting period, because anyone can vote at any of the nine locations from now until Nov. 3.
She said new system's value will be truly tested Election Day when disoriented voters must be steered to the one and only polling place they can use.
"Before, if someone went to a polling place and it is the wrong one, the election workers would have to go to a map to find the right polling place and if we can't find them on the map we call the central office, but often they can't get through because the phone is busy.
"If a voter has to get to work, they get frustrated and leave. With the new system, we will be able to find where you are supposed to go quickly," she said.
Fajman said the Crown Point and St. John early polling sites were the most active Tuesday. "We hope to improve the vote totals each day," she said.
Only 5,500 voted early last spring in a primary election that only achieved a 12.8 percent turnout.
Lake voters with government-issued photo identification can cast early ballots from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays until Oct. 31, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays Oct. 25 and Nov. 1 at the election board's office, A-205 in Lake County Government Center, 2293 N. Main St. Crown Point.
The hours are 8:30 a.m. to noon for Nov. 3, the final early voting day.
Lake officials also are opening eight satellite locations for voters 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays until Oct. 31, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays Oct. 25 and Nov. 1, and 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 3 at the following locations:
The Lorenzo Arredondo Justice Center, 3711 Main St., East Chicago; the Gary Public Safety Facility, 555 Polk St., Gary; the Hammond County Courthouse, 232 Russell St., Hammond; Lowell Town Hall, 501 E. Main St., Lowell; Munster Town Hall, 1005 Ridge Road, Munster; St. John Township assessor's office, 9157 Wicker Ave., St. John; Wicker Park Social Center, 8554 Indianapolis Blvd., Highland; and Winfield Town Hall, 10645 Randolph St., Winfield.