Indiana: State election report blames humans, not computers for Porter County snafus | Chesterton Tribune

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.

Indiana: Lawson confident no problem with electronic poll books | NWI

Secretary of State Connie Lawson said Friday she is confident there was not a problem with the new electronic poll books used in the May primary election in Porter County. Claims were made that the new poll books resulted in delays and other problems for voters. Kathy Kozuszek, Democrat director of the Porter County Voter Registration, who opposed purchasing the electronic poll books, said in May that the issue could be serious enough for candidates to call for a new election.

Indiana: Nearly 700,000 voters on state ‘inactive’ polling list | Courier-Journal

More than 696,400 registered voters in Indiana are now considered inactive, due to the state’s voter list update. But those voters will still be able to vote in elections through the federal election in 2016 before being removed from the voter poll lists, according to Secretary of State Connie Lawson. If they do not vote in any election prior to January 2016, county voter registration offices will remove their records from poll lists. Two federal election cycles, or up to four years, must pass before a county may remove an inactive voter from a list. August 6th was the federal deadline for counties to process data from the voter list refresh before the November 2014 election.

Indiana: Second effort to identify outdated voter records underway |

Secretary of State Connie Lawson has identified 727,000 potentially inaccurate voter registration records across Indiana. A massive May postcard mailing to all 4.4 million registered Hoosier voters saw about 16 percent returned as undeliverable. Starting this week, the state is sending a second, forwardable postcard to those registrants urging them to update their address and voter registration data. “Inaccurate voter information impairs the integrity of our voting process, and it artificially lowers our voter turnout statistics,” Lawson said. Hoosiers who receive a second postcard must update or confirm their voter information by July 24. Those who do not will be placed on “inactive” status. Inactive registrants still can vote this year, in the 2015 municipal elections and 2016 elections. But inactive voters who fail cast a ballot or update their registrations by 2017 will become eligible for removal from the poll lists.

Indiana: Verdict still out on utility of vote centers | The Journal Gazette

Counties that have leapt into the world of vote centers invariably talk about how convenient it is for the voter. But so far, that convenience isn’t translating into more people casting ballots. The statewide voter turnout for the recent primary election was 18 percent. By comparison, the 17 counties using vote centers came in with turnout around 15.4 percent. The last time there was no statewide race leading the primary ticket was 2002. Back then statewide turnout was 22 percent; the counties that would later move to vote centers had turnout of 23 percent. “We don’t have data to show that it increases turnout,” Secretary of State Connie Lawson said. “But we don’t see a drop either.”

Indiana: Missed votes prompt new tallying system in Warrick County | Associated Press

A southwest Indiana county is developing a new accountability system using “archaic” methods after a discovery that thousands of votes weren’t counted in the 2012 general election. Nearly 3,800 early votes cast in Warrick County during the 2012 general election went uncounted because of an error by an electronic voting machine technician. The lost ballots included that of county Clerk Sarah Redman, who said her top priority this year is having every vote count – even if it means using an old-fashioned system of checks and balances. “When I say archaic, I mean old pen and paper that I want (them) to jot down. I don’t want to go by any reports that shoot out of a computer,” Redman told the Evansville Courier & Press.

Indiana: Lawson announces testing on ePollBooks | Greensburg Daily News

Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson announced today the Voting Systems Technical Oversight Program (VSTOP) at Ball State University’s Bowen Center will begin testing electronic poll book systems commonly referred to as ePollBooks. Secretary Lawson approved the Bowen Center’s ePollBook testing standards, clearing the way for testing to begin. “The Secretary of State’s office has always been a leader in using technology to modernize the way we do business as a state,” said Secretary Lawson. “Today, we continue that tradition by modernizing the electoral process. Indiana is now the first state in the nation to have ePollBook certification standards. “We took the first leadership step by giving every county in the state the option to deploy ePollBooks. Now we take the next step in protecting Hoosier voters as they sign-in to vote by ensuring only the best quality ePollBooks are used in Indiana.”

Voting Blogs: Vote centers turn 10 – a decade later, jurisdictions slowly joining movement | electionlineWeekly

A decade ago, Larimer County, Colo. Clerk Scott Doyle was looking for a way to deal with many of the changes mandated by the Help America Vote Act. Working with the county’s elections department and practices already in place for early voting, Doyle and company created the concept of vote centers to use in all elections. Now, although Doyle has recently retired, his idea of consolidating voting precincts into a small number of come-one, come-all polling places is spreading to more and more counties across the country. “The success of vote centers is largely due to their attractiveness to voters who might not otherwise vote,” said Robert Stein, political science professor at Rice University who has studied vote centers. “They afford inexperienced votes many of the benefits in-person early voting offers, in those states that allow voters to ballot before Election Day. “ Counties making the move to vote centers cite a variety of reasons for making the switch, but the biggest factor of all seems to be cost savings.

Editorials: Cleaning up Indiana state registration offers confidence at polls | Fort Wayne News Sentinel

It’s not a lot of money in the big scheme of things, but the $2 million designated in the recent session of the General Assembly will begin the messy but necessary process of cleaning up Indiana’s voter registration rolls. Bloated voters rolls in every one of the state’s 92 counties contain the names of people who have moved away, are in prison or have died. Their presence on the registration lists make elections vulnerable to the type of shenanigans that can truly affect the outcome of elections. Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson is in charge of the state’s elections and led the charge to obtain the funds for the statewide project. She knows the importance of cleaning up the voter rolls in maintaining the integrity of the elections and meeting requirements of state and federal laws.

Indiana: State to spend $2M to clean up voter rolls | Tribune Star

Indiana’s bloated voter registration rolls, which officials say make elections more susceptible to fraud, will soon come under more scrutiny by the state. The Indiana Secretary of State’s office will spend more than $2 million to purge the voter registration rolls in each of Indiana’s 92 counties, removing the names of voters who are dead, in prison, or have moved away. County election officials are responsible for keeping the voter rolls current, but the lack of money has caused some of them to fall behind. The result: In some counties, the number of people listed on the active voter rolls is higher than the number of voting-age people who live there.

Indiana: Bill Pushes State Officials To Examine, Purge Voter Rolls | Indiana Public Media

Legislation passed during the 2013 session requires a statewide mailing to verify and update voter registration information every two years and puts money behind the effort. Secretary of State Connie Lawson says voters will receive postcards in the mail with their registration info. They mail the cards back with any changes listed. Lawson says the mailing will also remove voters from the rolls.

Editorials: Getting beyond the fraud | The Journal Gazette

Before Indiana GOP officials bluster on too long about how dirty the Indiana Democratic Party’s kettle is when it comes to election fraud, they should keep in mind their own record. On Thursday, state GOP Chairman Eric Holcomb sent out a caustic fund- raising email to party faithful saying “Election fraud is alive and well within the Indiana Democratic Party” and suggesting a donation to the Republican Party “will help ensure the integrity of our electoral process.”

Indiana: Secretary of State: No such thing as over the phone voting | Chesterton Tribune

Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson is warning Hoosiers not to accept phone calls offering over-the-phone voting. Lawson was prompted to issue this warning after receiving complaints from voters who received phone calls offering to let them vote early over the phone, her the Secretary of State’s Office said last week. “Under no circumstances can you vote over the phone,” Lawson said. “If you receive a call offering to let you vote over the phone, hang up. It’s a scam. This investigation centers around a firm called Vote USA. But there could be other similar types of illegal contact with voters and we must remain vigilant.”

National: Indianapolis Meeting Compares Voting Machine Standards | Indiana Public Media

State election officials from more than a dozen states are in Indianapolis to compare notes on voting machines. The controversy over “hanging chads” in the Florida presidential vote prompted Congress in 2002 to order the states to make the transition to optical-scan and touch-screen voting machines. But Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson insists Indiana is one of the few states with the technical expertise to assess whether competing models meet state standards. Still, Hoosier officials will hear presentations from many states in an effort to determine best practices, Lawson says.

Indiana: Governor Picks Co-Author of Strict Voter ID for Secretary of State | ThinkProgress

With the recent felony conviction of then-Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White (R), the task fell upon Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) to select a replacement for the chief elections officer of his state. Friday, he announced his pick: state Senator Connie Lawson. Lawson, who served in the state senate since 1996 and as clerk of the Hendricks County Circuit Court for seven years before that, was one of the two original authors of Senate Bill 483. That law, enacted in 2005 and upheld by a divided U.S. Supreme Court in 2008, was among the nation’s first laws mandating strict photo identification requirements for voters. Lawson’s concern about election integrity was also evident in another key vote — in 2010, she voted against the bill that made it legal for alcohol to be sold on election day in Indiana.

Indiana: Gov. Mitch Daniels picks Connie Lawson as new Indiana Secretary of State | Indianapolis Star

Connie Lawson, who has served in the state senate since 1996, is Indiana’s new secretary of state. Gov. Mitch Daniels named her as his pick to replace Charlie White this morning, and she was sworn-in by Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman in a brief ceremony in his Statehouse office. Daniels called Lawson — who has been Senate Republican floor leader, chairwoman of the Senate local government committee, a member of the elections committee and a former Hendricks County clerk — the “obvious” choice to take over as the state’s chief elections official. “I don’t know when I’ve felt so good or confident about a decision as the appointment this morning of Senator Connie Lawson as Indiana’s new secretary of state. I doubt the state has ever been served by someone better prepared for her duties than Connie will be.”