Indiana: Court says only election officials can request polling extensions | Johnny Magdaleno/Indianapolis Star

Court says only Indiana election officials can request polling extensions | Johnny Magdaleno/Indianapolis StarHoosiers will not be able to request that their polling places stay open longer on Nov. 3 after a federal appeals court upheld an Indiana election law that gives county election officials the sole power to make those requests. A three-judge panel on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that the election law, which was signed into effect by Gov. Eric Holcomb in 2019, does not infringe on Hoosiers’ right to vote.The ruling also said that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana executed poor judgment in its original ruling in September against the election law because the court acted too close to the Nov. 3 elections.  “Just like voters had many months since the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic ensued in this country this March to adjust to the election rules, plaintiff had more than a year to challenge these amendments,” wrote the judges, referring to voting rights group Common Cause Indiana. “The problems plaintiff alleges with the amendments are not new, yet plaintiff asks that these duly enacted statutes be suspended on the eve of the election.”

Indiana: Lawsuit challenges Indiana limits on voting time extensions | Tom Davies/Associated Press

An Indiana law violates the U.S. Constitution by blocking voters and candidates from asking courts to keep polling places open past the state’s 6 p.m. closing time because of Election Day troubles, a voting rights group argued in a lawsuit filed Wednesday. The law passed by Indiana’s Republican-dominated Legislature in 2019 prevents anyone other than a county election board, which oversee voting matters, from requesting court orders to extend voting hours. The lawsuit filed in federal court in Indianapolis on behalf of Common Cause Indiana cites equipment troubles, delays in opening polling sites and ballot shortages during the November 2018 elections in Johnson, Porter and Monroe counties. It argues that the state law wrongly thwarts voters and political parties from protecting the right to vote. “Shutting the courthouse doors to voters and erecting a multi-step process to obtain an extension of polling-place hours to correct irregularities places a severe and unconstitutional burden on all Indiana voters,” the lawsuit said.

Indiana: Judge orders Secretary of State to produce documents on voting-machine security | John Russell/Indianapolis Business Journal

A Marion County Superior Court judge has ordered Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson to produce documents to back up her claim that the public should not see emails and other communications about the reliability and security of voting machines because they could jeopardize cyberterrorism security. Judge Heather Welch ruled Tuesday that Lawson did not provide adequate justification for withholding the materials and ordered her to produce some of the documents for inspection in chambers. In a 27-page ruling, the judge ordered Lawson to submit the materials that she had withheld based on the counterterrorism exception so that she may examine them in private. A spokesman for Lawson declined comment on Wednesday. The matter arose after a national group of cybersecurity experts sued Lawson last year, saying she has refused to turn over emails and other communications about the reliability and security of voting machines, despite numerous requests.

Indiana: Republican state leaders may limit use of mail-in ballots for November general election | Dan Carden/NWITimes

Hoosiers who appreciated the convenience and safety of voting by mail in Tuesday’s primary election may nevertheless be forced to cast their ballot in-person, at a polling place, for the Nov. 3 general election. Gov. Eric Holcomb and Secretary of State Connie Lawson declined to say Wednesday whether mail-in voting will continue to be available to all Hoosiers in future elections, or if the opportunity to vote by mail again will be limited to only those with a specific excuse for being unable to vote in person. The Indiana Election Commission authorized no excuse mail-in voting for this year’s rescheduled primaries due to the coronavirus pandemic and based on the bipartisan recommendation of the leaders of Indiana’s Republican and Democratic parties. Since that time, however, Republican President Donald Trump repeatedly has called on states to scrap mail-in voting, by claiming — without evidence — the mail-in process, which Trump used to cast his own primary election ballot in Florida, is riddled with fraud.

Indiana: State won’t change mail-in ballot deadline despite worries | Tom Davies/Associated Press

Indiana’s top election official on Friday rejected a request for extending the deadline for returning mail-in ballots for next week’s primary election, despite worries that thousands of them could arrive late and go uncounted. Some voters scattered around the state have complained about not receiving mail-in ballots that they requested as election officials encouraged voting by mail to lessen the risk of coronavirus exposure Tuesday at in-person polling sites. State figures show nearly 550,000 voters across Indiana requested mail-in ballots — more than 10 times the number of those ballots cast during the 2016 primary — and more than 300,000 have been returned through Thursday. Marion County Clerk Myla Eldridge, who oversees the election staff in Indianapolis, sent a letter Thursday to state officials asking them to extend the deadline that requires mail-in ballots arrive at county election offices by noon Tuesday while polling sites remain open.

Indiana: Clerk warns state officials that thousands of mail-in ballots might not be counted; voters can still go to polls | Lesley Weidenbener/Indianapolis Business Journal

Thousands of voters in Marion County who planned to vote by mail in Tuesday’s election may not have the opportunity because they won’t receive their ballots in time, Marion County Clerk Myla Eldridge told state officials in a letter Thursday. In addition, some voters who mailed in their absentee ballots might not have them counted because they won’t reach the Clerk’s Office by a noon deadline on Election Day, Eldridge said in the memo to Secretary of State Connie Lawson and copied to Gov. Eric Holcomb and other local and state officials. Eldridge told state officials “it is not too late” to extend the deadline for receipt of mailed ballots. She implored the Indiana Election Commission to act. “What a shame it will be for voters and candidates if thousands of votes sit in stacks uncounted under these circumstances,” she wrote. Even without an extension, most voters have options. Those who did not receive a ballot or who fear their ballot won’t make back to the Clerk’s Office by a noon deadline on Election Day can still go to the polls in person to cast a vote or drop off their mail-in ballots. Eldridge said in her letter that COVID-19-related staffing issues and significant delays at the U.S. Postal Service have contributed to the county’s difficulty in processing 123,000 applications from residents who want to vote by mail. That’s 20 times the number of mail-in ballots voters requested during the 2016 primary election, the last time a presidential race was on the ballot.

Indiana: Virus stings county election budgets | Dave Gong/The Journal Gazette

Voting in a pandemic presents unique challenges for county election officials who anticipate cost increases, especially in postage expenses, as many voters turn to mailed-in absentee ballots for Indiana’s June 2 primary. The Allen County Election Board estimates it received about 38,000 applications for absentee ballots, Beth Dlug, the county’s director of elections, said Friday. About 2,800 people requested ballots during the 2016 presidential primary, Dlug said. The deadline to request an absentee ballot was 11:59 p.m. Thursday. More than 20,000 ballots have been returned to the Election Board; the deadline for their return to local election boards is noon on Election Day. That has meant a drastic increase in the cost to run the election in Allen County, Dlug said. “We have already gone through our year’s budget for postage and so we’re moving funds around from one line-item to the other,” she said. “This election will be overall much more expensive than an election that would be mainly electronic.”

Indiana: No PPE required: State orders no restrictions on voting | Gus Pearcy/Pharos Tribune

County clerks across Indiana were notified this week by the Indiana Election Division that voters cannot be required to be screened for COVID-19 or forced to wear masks, use hand sanitizer, wash their hands or even respect social distancing guidelines when showing up to vote in person. “You don’t want to have anything perceived as voter suppression or requirements of the voter over and above just coming in and voting,” Boone County attorney Bob Clutter said about the development which he said he hadn’t considered. “You know, the screening might make some people uncomfortable and you don’t want to do anything that would in any way inhibit their way to vote.” The Boone County Courthouse is currently closed to the public. However, people who have business with the courts and all employees are being screened before entering the courthouse with a series of questions about exposure or symptoms of COVID-19. All entrants are also having their temperatures taken. Anyone whose temperature is 100.4 or above is not allowed to enter. Voters will not be subjected to the screening.

Indiana: Secretary of State buys, distributes PPE to make primary election safer | Niki Kelly/The Journal Gazette

Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson has purchased and distributed thousands of personal protective items to make the June 2 primary election safe, she said Friday. Meanwhile, state officials have also started the process of identifying the federal money local units of government can receive for unexpected COVID-19 expenses. Indiana continues to see cases of the virus rise — 614 new cases, for a total of 26,665 Friday. There were 42 new deaths for a total of 1,550. Another 41 Allen County residents have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the county’s total to 957 cases and 64 deaths Friday. Lawson said the Indiana National Guard has handled receiving, sorting and shipping of the supplies to counties around the state. Some counties have already received the equipment and the rest will be sent out next week.

Indiana: Lawsuit seeks no-excuse absentee voting for general election | Tribune Star

A dozen people including two members of the nonprofit Indiana Vote by Mail organization on Wednesday filed a federal class-action lawsuit against the Indiana Election Commission and Indiana Secretary of State. The lawsuits seeks to expand no-excuse absentee voting to the November general election. The lawsuit contends the state’s election law allowing some — but not all — registered voters to vote by mail violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitutions and the Equal Privileges and Immunities Clause of the Indiana Constitution. The lawsuit includes 12 plaintiffs, including two of whom are members of the Indiana Vote by Mail, which is based in Indianapolis.

Indiana: Counties preparing for mail-in voting surge as voters seek to stay home | Sara Barker and Steve Garbacz/KPC News

Standing in line close together then touching the same machine everyone else in your neighborhood has touched might not be the best way to vote during a pandemic. Now, county clerks and elections workers are preparing to hurdle obstacles that would make primary voting safe and accessible to everyone. Part of this is complying with an order handed down from the Indiana Secretary of State’s office, which is somewhat of a compromise between in-person and absentee voting. To come up with that voting plan, the Secretary of State’s office surveyed clerks of whether they’d like to see mailed ballots or in-person votes. Indiana Democrats had pushed for an entirely vote-by-mail primary due to coronavirus, but the state election commission didn’t choose to go that far.

Indiana: Voting rights advocates call on Election Commission to provide more flexibility | Erica Irish/Goshen News

Indiana voting rights advocates joined an Indiana Election Commission meeting Wednesday to push for expanded flexibility in the upcoming state primary, which was moved to June 2 last month in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Julia Vaughn, policy director for Common Cause Indiana, told the commission members at their third virtual Zoom meeting that while their decision to move the primary date and to expand absentee voting were positive first steps, Hoosiers need more options. “You are operating in unprecedented times, and you really need to be thinking creatively and in ways that you probably never envisioned having to think about in the administration of elections in Indiana,” Vaughn said. “It’s going to be a challenging election period for voters, for election administrators, for county-level officials.”

Indiana: Election commission approves in-person early voting the week before the June 2 primary | Alexandra Kukulka/Chicago Tribune

Early voting at the polls will be limited to the week before the June 2 primary election, according to a recent decision by the Indiana Election Commission. On March 20, Gov. Eric Holcomb announced that the state’s primary election will be moved from May 5 to June 2 because of the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Secretary of State Connie Lawson said March 20 that her office, along with the chairmen of the Indiana Republican and Democratic parties, agreed to postpone the election to June and they created recommendations for the Indiana Election Commission to consider. The election commission met March 25 and approved 11 recommendations, including allowing everyone to cast an absentee ballot by mail “without having a specific reason to do so,” grandfathering absentee ballots already received and moving all election dates by 28 days, according to a Secretary of State Office press release.

Indiana: State to Offer Limited In-Person Voting at Upcoming Primary Election | Lauren Stone/NBC Chicago

While Indiana officials are encouraging mail-in absentee voting, the state will still have in-person voting for its pushed-back primary election on June 2. At Thursday’s coronavirus briefing, Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson updated Hoosiers on the upcoming election that was previously moved from May 5 to June 2 over growing concerns of spreading the coronavirus. Lawson said early in-person voting will take place, but will be limited. Instead of the typical 28 days prior to the primary, voters can cast an early in-person ballot from May 26 through June 1. “These recommendations come after many discussions with county clerks and election staff, the state parties, the Indiana election division,” Lawson said, “and they represent what we believe to be best practices for an unprecedented election cycle.” Lawson encouraged voters to double check their polling locations before leaving home to cast a ballot and addressed safety concerns over in-person voting at these precincts.

Indiana: ‘A logistical nightmare’: Local counties preparing for mail-in election | Max Lewis/WSBT

“A logistical nightmare” is how county clerks are describing Indiana’s now June primary. The state election commission made several changes after the primary was delayed, including allowing everyone to vote by mail. The coronavirus already caused Indiana’s primary to be moved from May 5th to June 2nd. But with expectations that social distancing will extend into early summer, the way we now vote is going to change. Our mailbox may be the new ballot box when Indiana votes at the beginning of June. The state’s election commission made major changes last week, one of the biggest is allowing everyone to vote by mail. Elkhart County Clerk Chris Anderson says the prospect of having the county’s around 50,000 registered voters all getting ballots in the mail will be a challenge.

Indiana: Election Commission makes changes to smooth June 2 primary | Chris Sikich/Indianapolis Star

The Indiana Election Commission on Wednesday OK’d several changes that Gov. Eric Holcomb, Secretary of State Connie Lawson and Republican and Democratic leaders recommended at a news conference last week. Holcomb signed an executive order Friday to move the primary election from May 5 to June 2 and asked the commission to make several changes to smooth that process, most notably allowing all voters to cast absentee ballots by mail. The commission also acknowledged doing so could delay election results and asked local election boards to count votes by June 12.  “As we take precautions to protect Hoosiers from the threat of COVID-19, it is vitally important to protect citizens’ right to vote,” Lawson said in a prepared statement. “I am pleased that our bipartisan recommendations have been adopted, and I thank the Indiana Election Commission for their expeditious work.”

Indiana: Primary moved to June 2 in response to COVID-19 pandemic | Alexandra Kukulka and Amy Lavalley/Chicago Tribune

The Indiana primary election has been moved from May 5 to June 2 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Friday. The decision was reached in conjunction with Secretary of State Connie Lawson and Indiana Republican and Democratic party chairman a day after Holcomb said he’d support postponing the primary. “While May 5 is about seven weeks away, the work that is needed to properly conduct this election and complete it, whether it be programming the machines themselves or sending out ballots … that is all currently under way,” Holcomb said. “Just as I said from this exact position yesterday, my view on that fast approaching primary election is it needed to be pushed back in order to ensure the safety of our county employees, poll workers and voters.” To that end, all corresponding dates with the primary election will be moved by 28 days to align with the new June 2 date, Holcomb said. Using that formula, Lawson said it is likely that early voting will start May 5, though the Indiana Election Commission will decide when early voting will start in the coming days.

Indiana: Madison County voting machine purchase dispute likely headed to court | Ken de la Bastide/The Herald Bulletin

The dispute between two governmental bodies in Madison County over the purchase of additional voting machines is likely to be settled in court. Last week the Madison County Election Board approved a contract with Election Systems & Software (ES&S) to purchase an additional 170 voting machines and 15 tabulators at cost of $766,376. The election board approved a four year lease/purchase agreement with ES&S and directed Madison County Auditor Rick Gardner to pay the claim. Last Tuesday County Attorney Jonathan Hughes with Bose McKinney & Evans sent a letter to ES&S attorney that since the contract to purchase the additional voting machines was not approved by the commissioners, the company might not be paid. In his letter Hughes said state law requires all contracts and all payments to be approved by the commissioners and that the election board acted outside the scope of its authority. Madison County Clerk Olivia Pratt, a member of the election board, said Friday the additional voting equipment has been ordered and is ready to be shipped. “ES&S wants to be confident that they will be paid,” she said.

Indiana: Tippecanoe County, companies shift to voting machines with printable paper ballots | Jordan Smith/Purdue Exponent

Four companies that manufacture voting equipment for Tippecanoe County presented new machines with printable paper ballots to a packed room of voters Monday night, seeking to instill trust in the updated technologies through public input. Each company had some variation of a similar technology. Candidates are selected on electronic machines — some use touchscreens while others use buttons — and a summary of choices displays when finished. The machines then print ballots, which can be reviewed by voters and then inserted into a scanner that counts them electronically and physically. The paper copies are then deposited into a locked bin connected to the scanner, while the machine’s memory drive stores the results separately. “There has been such a groundswell for paper ballots,” said Lawrence Leach of Hart InterCivic, Inc., a company offering a hybrid electronic-paper machine. “There’s a lot of focus on voting and everything around that process — you cannot get it wrong. It has to be done right, you have to be 100% correct, so we’re striving to make sure every vote gets counted correctly and audited.”

Indiana: What’s next in Tippecanoe Co. ballot machines? | Dave Bangert/Lafayette Journal & Courier

What sort of voting machines should Tippecanoe County go with? For two hours Monday evening, voters will have a chance to test models from four companies, as Tippecanoe County election officials consider what will replace a system in use since 2006. “We want to know what people like, what they prefer, after they get to try them out,” Tippecanoe County Clerk Julie Roush said. “We think we know what we like, as an Election Board. But we’re hoping this will help us make sure it’s what people want.” That night, voting equipment from four vendors – Election Systems & Software, Hart InterCivic Inc., MicroVote General Corp. and Unisyn Voting Solutions – will be on display. People will be able to test the features of each machine, all of which will be equipped with a verifiable paper trail. Roush said the vendors come from a list of those approved by the Indiana Secretary of State, which has a site dedicated to the particulars about each machine and each company. To see it, go to: www.in.gov/sos/elections/4532.htm. Roush said the Tippecanoe County Election Board will not make decisions about the machines. Instead, the open house will include a survey to get feedback from those who come test the equipment.

Indiana: Commissioners won’t vote on Madison County vote center proposal | Ken de la Bastide/The Herald Bulletin

A lack of a quorum at a called special meeting of the Madison County Commissioners has stopped the attempt to implement vote centers in the county. Commissioner John Richwine called the special meeting for Monday evening to discuss vote centers, but late in the day County Attorney Jonathan Hughes sent out an email stating because of prior commitments there would not be a quorum. Richwine said he was going to attend the meeting and allow anyone to speak on becoming a vote center county. Commissioners Kelly Gaskill and Mike Phipps notified Hughes they would not be in attendance. Both were at the Madison County Government Center, but didn’t attend an Election Board meeting earlier Monday.

Indiana: House Republicans Reject More Money For Voting Machine Needs | Brandon Smith/Northeast Indiana Public Radio

House Republicans this week voted down Democrats’ attempts to help ensure Indiana’s voting machines are more secure in the 2020 election. More than half of Indiana’s 92 counties have voting machines without a paper backup. Election security experts say those backups are critical to electoral integrity. The General Assembly budgeted $10 million last year to help upgrade. But that amount only covers about 10 percent of the machines that need it. And they plan to get to the rest of them by 2030. House Democrats offered an amendment to force the Holcomb administration to find another $10 million to upgrade voting machines right away. House Republicans – like Rep. Tim Wesco (R-Osceola) – said no. “Frankly, $10 million’s not enough. It will take more than that over the course of the next nine years,” Wesco says. “We just need to stick with the plan that we adopted last year with the $10 million that was appropriated and look to the needs that we need in future budget years.”

Indiana: Election cybersecurity: Local election officials prepare for “doomsday-like” scenarios | Andy East/The Republic

How would Bartholomew County handle a cyberattack that compromises its election systems? The answer to that question, as well as other “doomsday-like,” election-related scenarios, will be put down on paper for the first time as Bartholomew County election officials continue their efforts to prepare for the 2020 presidential election, said Bartholomew County Clerk Jay Phelps. Next month, Phelps and other county election officials will begin drafting written contingency plans for how his office would respond to a range of threats that would constitute what he described as an election administrator’s “worst nightmare” — including a cyberattack directed at the county’s voting systems, theft or physical tampering of electronic poll books and even a catastrophic natural disaster that wipes out electricity and cellphone towers. Phelps clarified that his office already has a “verbal plan” in place for these scenarios and his staff knows the general practices for how to deal with them, but no written, step-by-step plans have been drafted. Phelps said he expects to have the written plans ready by April 1, just over one month before Indiana’s presidential primary on May 5.

Indiana: New Money For Needed Voting Machines Unlikely In 2020 | Brandon Smith/WVIK

It’s unlikely the General Assembly will give counties more money in the 2020 session for new voting machines. More than half the machines in Indiana don’t have a paper backup – something election security experts insist is critical. The legislature appropriated enough money in the 2019 budget to provide backups to 10 percent of the machines that need them. Lawmakers do plan in the 2020 session to use excess surplus dollars on cash payments for some pre-approved projects – like a swine barn at the State Fairgrounds. But money for more voting machines doesn’t make the list. Gov. Eric Holcomb says that’s because Secretary of State Connie Lawson has assured him Indiana’s voting systems are secure.

Indiana: State voting security seen as lax | Niki Kelly/The Journal Gazette

More than 50 Hoosiers attended the event put on by Common Cause Indiana that included a national look at election security as well as a detailed review of Indiana. The lack of an audit and paper trail has a tangible effect on whether voters trust the system, Dr. Greg Shufeldt – assistant professor of political science at Butler University – told the group. He noted states have taken divergent paths – some making voting easier and more accessible while others have cracked down on alleged voter fraud. A look at two different electoral integrity studies shows Indiana in the middle or slightly below the middle of the states. And Shufeldt said the primary thing that makes Indiana vulnerable is its use of direct record electronic machines. Election lawyer William Groth explained that 58 counties – including Allen – have these machines. They record votes directly into the machine with no paper ballot or trail generated. There is no way for a voter to confirm the machine accurately recorded their intent, and it is more difficult to do recounts.

Indiana: Vanderburgh County Clerk expresses concern after recent election | Miranda Meister/WEHT

A Vanderburgh County official wants to make changes to the way some voters cast ballots. Vanderburgh county clerk Carla Hayden says some people refuse to vote using the machines so they received a provisional paper ballot. Hayden says that’s not the intended use for this type of ballot. Provisional ballots are meant to be used by people whose voting eligibility is in question. Maybe they aren’t registered or maybe they forgot their ID. But she says being uncomfortable with the polling machine is not a reason. She now wants to see if she can keep this from becoming a trend. During the 2019 election, more than 16 thousand votes were cast in Vanderburgh County. Of that, around 15 of them were votes written and put in envelopes like this one. Provisional ballots, a way for the voter to get their opinion in even if their eligibility is in question. But for those counting the votes– this can be a lengthy process. “If someone does cast a provisional ballot then we have 10 days from the election day to investigate that claim,” County Clerk Carla Hayden says. “Then the election board meets when we go to certify the election and they will look into the issue and see if it’s been cleared up.” And this is all before anyone even looks at the the vote inside the envelope. “If we decide it’s going to count then we have to open that envelopes the votes get transferred onto a legitimate ballot and that ballot gets counted,” Hayden explains. She says during this last election three people asked for this ballot because they didn’t trust the machine.

Indiana: Vanderburgh County will counter voters who refuse to use machines | Thomas B. Langhorne/Evansville Courier & Press

Suspicious voters who refuse to use voting machines at polling places will have no other option if Vanderburgh County’s chief elections officer has her way. County Clerk Carla Hayden said she will seek changes to Indiana law in the wake of a city election that saw three voters at Plaza Park School request — and receive — paper provisional ballots simply because they refused to use machines. The ballots ultimately were counted by election board members who said the voters were eligible. In at least one case, poll worker Don Gibbs said, a voter at Plaza Park explained he is suspicious about voting machines. “He said he just didn’t trust the machines. I didn’t ask why,” said Gibbs, the highest-ranking poll worker at Plaza Park. After calling the Vanderburgh County Election Office for guidance, Gibbs gave the three voters — he said they weren’t together — paper provisional ballots. By law, provisional ballots are sealed in security envelopes, kept apart from other ballots and acted upon later. Provisional ballots are the only paper ballots available at polling places in Vanderburgh County. Machines, not paper, are the county’s method of voting on election day.

Indiana: Why Critics Say Indiana Isn’t Doing Enough To Beef Up Election Security | Adam Pinsker & Sean Hogan/ Indiana Public Media

A big upgrade of voting machines is taking place around the state, but it won’t be finished before the 2020 election, when Hoosiers will choose a president, governor and other down ballot candidates. Some Hoosier voters worry their votes aren’t protected, and critics say a larger effort to safeguard votes is needed from the state. There are two types of machines for counties to use during elections in Indiana: Direct Record Electronic (DREs) and Optical Scans, which utilize a paper ballot. Valerie Warycha, the Indiana Deputy Chief of Staff says the state is providing four DRE counties — Bartholomew, Boone, Hamilton, and Hendricks — with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPAT) by 2020. A VVPAT is a device that attaches to the machine and prints out a paper copy of an individual vote that can be reviewed in the course of an election audit. A law that went into effect in July requires all counties to use voting machines that provide a paper trail audit by the beginning of 2030.

Indiana: St. Joseph County Election Board recanvasses ballots after finding discrepancies | Monica Murphy/WNDU

The St. Joseph County Election Board, along with its attorney and election consultants, recanvassed ballots after finding discrepancies in the number of ballots cast. They noticed a 41-ballot difference and found discrepancies in 32 polling places. “So, this is just giving us a little more breathing room, since there weren’t that many discrepancies. It wasn’t affecting any races. It was sporadic all over,” St. Joseph Circuit Court Clerk Rita Glenn said. Glenn said it could have been a lot worse, making clear the recanvass will not impact election results. Here is what happened: They said there were no issues with the election equipment itself; rather, the majority of issues came from ballot jams. When there is a jam, the machine will give a message to poll workers saying “ballot cast,” so that would have meant not to reinsert the ballot. The board chair said some poll workers probably misunderstood the message and may have reinserted the paper, counting it twice.

Indiana: IU receives $300,000 grant to improve cybersecurity for 2020 election | Jessica Prucha/Indiana Daily Student

Indiana General Assembly legislators awarded IU $301,958 to improve election cybersecurity across the state’s 92 counties. Researchers at the IU Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research are partnering with the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office to create and teach incident response plans to election officials across the state for the 2020 election. Von Welch,Director of the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, and his team are working alongside Secretary of State Connie Lawson to develop incident response training material. The initiative will train election officials from the state’s 92 counties on how to respond to incidents, such as power outages, social media threats or ransomware attacks during the 2020 election process. Training initiatives will prepare election officials for computer problems or cybersecurity breaches. “One concern is what happens if there’s an incident related to the computers in the election?” Welch said. “Do they know how to appropriately respond?”