Early voters in Porter County faced challenges when they went to the polls Tuesday and the county’s new electronic poll books weren’t working. “As of 7 o’clock this morning, there were at least 30 (polling places) that weren’t online. They were all over,” said Kathy Kozuszek, Democratic director in the county’s Voter Registration Office. “Everything was up and running by 8 o’clock.” The problems, she said, ran the gamut, from not having enough routers for each electronic poll book, which scans identification cards and offers an electronic signature pad for voters, to not having the necessary Internet connection at Woodland Park in Portage for the equipment to work.
Some of the poll books were shutting down, she said, and the software didn’t update early voters from Saturday and Monday. Poll workers also made mistakes. “I got several calls from voters who got turned away,” Kozuszek, who has raised concerns about the equipment, said, adding the issues were “disastrous.”
“This is sad. We have low voter turnout anyway and when they showed up, they got turned away.”
This is the first election in the county using the new equipment, though it was in use at early voting sites in Valparaiso, Portage and Chesterton leading up to the election, which features two referendums for the Valparaiso schools and a handful of municipal contests in Portage, Chesterton and Hebron.