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Temperatures rising as Porter County candidates and voters anxiously await election results

Porter County residents converge on the Porter County Administration Center to voice their protest against the vote counting of Tuesday's election.

Clear-headed investigative probes, not partisan shouting matches, are the antidote for the poisoned Porter County election process.

It's why Indiana House Rep. Ed Soliday's call for the secretary of state to help identify the causes and possible fixes of the Nov. 6 general election fiasco was so important.

Soliday's request was an essential complement to the Porter County commissioners' appeal for the FBI to probe for any possible criminal violations.

Soliday traveled to Indianapolis Tuesday to make the request in person.

Secretary of State Connie Lawson, the state's chief elections officer, pledged to aid Porter County after meeting with Soliday. 

No doubt many layers of problems led to a dozen polling locations that opened hours late, early absentee ballots not sorted or counted properly and a subsequent delay by three days in unofficial election results.

It's also clear Porter County officials aren't prepared to solve this mess on their own.

Part of a long-running problem can be seen in a video of the Oct. 31 Porter County Election Board meeting, addressed by Times Editor Marc Chase in his Sunday column.

Before the meeting even began, Election Board members can be seen and heard arguing as they took their seats.

It then became a vitriolic finger-pointing match between Republican and Democratic election officials, culminating with arms waving and shouting after the meeting adjourned.

Many Porter County officials confirm the vitriol among Election Board and voter registration officials has defined the county's electoral process for some time.

The election officials apparently were so busy yelling at each other prior to Election Day, the work to ensure a smooth election in which the public could be confident fell far short of what voters deserve.

A fresh set of eyes, ideas and analysis are needed, and the secretary of state's office, which includes the Indiana Election Division, is a prime authority to help sort it out.

Valparaiso Democratic Party Chairman Drew Wenger was working to discourage a secretary of state probe Tuesday stating Lawson, a Republican, would be too partisan.

Wenger wanted to call in the state police instead.

But the state police would only be looking for criminal activity. Porter County needs a clear path forward from failed processes, not just potential wrongdoing.

The secretary of state did not preside over Porter County's election mess, and her personnel will bring the fresh, authoritative eyes this situation requires.

The time for bickering is over. It has done untold damage to the faith of voters.

Those who can't give it up should resign.

We're glad the secretary of state agreed to help prescribe an antidote for what ails a seriously troubled Porter County election process.

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Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Editor Marc Chase, Deputy Editor Kerry Erickson, Assistant Local News Editor Crista Zivanovic and Regional News Editor Sharon Ross.