The Indiana Secretary of State’s Office on Friday said Porter County’s new electronic poll books are not to blame for the technical problems reported in this past May’s municipal primary elections. Instead, a report conducted by the Voting System Technical Oversight Program (VSTOP) attributes the snafus to poll workers, poor internet connection at polling locations, ballot counting machine failures, router failures, “confusing” voter tally sheets and “inadequate” poll worker training. A summary of the report was released Friday along with a statement issued from Secretary of State Connie Lawson. VSTOP is tasked with documenting issues with equipment sold to counties by vendors and making recommendations relevant for the functioning of that equipment.
“After reviewing VSTOP’s conclusions, I’m confident there was not a problem with the e-PollBooks,” Lawson said in her statement. “There were several other factors that lead to the discrepancy between ballots counted and the total number of voters voting. There was human error in recording the number of people who voted before turning off the machines, there was equipment error with the machines that scan the cast ballots and a router failed at one location. These difficulties were compounded when the poll workers went to reconcile vote totals. There was trouble recording and calculating vote totals and confusion with tally sheets.”
Election Board President and Republican representative David Bengs told the Chesterton Tribune on Monday that “it’s no shock” what the report said after he and fellow Election Board member and County Clerk Karen Martin, also a Republican, had stated before that “human error” was what caused the problems.