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What you'll see with new voting machines in Tippecanoe County
A new $1.5 million system, with paper trail, officially debuts when early voting starts Tuesday
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A week before their debut in Tippecanoe County, a set of new voting machines cleared a run-through Tuesday by the county’s election board.
The MicroVote Infinity Voting System, the county’s new $1.5 million push-button system, will receive its first official votes Tuesday, April 5, the opening day of early voting ahead of the May 3 primary.
On Tuesday, a public test of the machines showed no problems.
“They seem to be working well,” Randy Vonderheide, one of three election board members, said. “Now, we’ll see how people adjust to something new.”
The county bought the new system, featuring a voter-verified paper audit trail, in 2021 with state funding. They’ll replace the TSx touchscreen machines in service since 2006.
The county opened a mock polling place in September, shortly after the machines arrived, to give voters a chance to try them. The crowd that day, largely made up of veteran poll workers, elected officials and people with party ties, gave the system decent reviews.
The biggest difference will be the push-button operation and a voter verifiable paper audit trail. Once a voter checks in, an election official puts a card in the machine, verifies that the voter has the correct ballot and then steps away. The buttons running down the sides of the machines correspond to candidate names and voter propositions on a screen.
Before casting a final ballot, voters will get a paper preview of their selection. The paper rolls up like a receipt under Plexiglas. Voters have a chance to make changes at that point. Voters don’t take those paper receipts with them. Once a final ballot is cast, the paper is coded and rolls into the machine, where it is stored for review, as needed, later. Election officials offload electronic data about votes cast from each machine on Election Night. The machines are not connected to each other or to the internet.
About the election: The May 3 primary will decide which candidates make the November general election in congressional. General Assembly, assorted county and township seats, precinct committee positions and delegates to the state party conventions. Voters may ask for either a Democratic or Republican ballot at the polling place.
On ballots: To see which races will be on your ballot, go to www.indianavoters.in.gov. Here’s a list of candidates running for elected positions in Tippecanoe County:
Voter registration: Voter registration for the 2022 Indiana primary is open through Monday, April 4. To register or check your registration, go to: indianavoters.in.gov.
Early voting: … is available from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays, starting Tuesday, April 5, at the Tippecanoe County Board of Elections, on the third floor of the County Office Building, 20 N. Third St. in Lafayette. There will be 9 a.m.-4 p.m. hours on Saturday, April 23, and Saturday, April 30, in the elections office. The final day of early voting will be 8 a.m.-noon Monday, May 2.
There also will be early voting at these sites (times still to be determined, Clerk Julie Roush said):
April 21: Lafayette Jefferson High School, 1801 S. 18th St.
April 23: Otterbein United Methodist Church, 405 E. Oxford St., Otterbein; Stockwell United Methodist Church, 6941 Church St., Stockwell; West Point Fire Station, 4949 Indiana 25 South.
April 25-30: Eastside Assembly of God, 6121 E. County Road 50 South; Faith West Community Center, 1920 Northwestern Ave.; Northend Community Center, 2000 Elmwood Ave.; Wea Ridge Baptist Church, 1051 E. County Road 430 South.
Note: Pay Less Super Markets in Lafayette and West Lafayette will not be early voting sites this year.
Election Day: Polls will be open 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday, May 3. The county will have 17 vote centers open that day.
SPEAKING OF ELECTIONS … AT THE CANDIDATES’ DEBATE: I’ll have some the takeaways later this week from Monday nights Republican debates in the two General Assembly races with contested primaries. Neither has an incumbent on the ballot. But here’s video from each, if you want to take your own look at how candidates handled questions. Here’s the video, picked up from the Duncan Hall stage in downtown Lafayette at the point each 50-minute debate got rolling, with former WLFI anchor Gina Quattrocchi moderating.
Indiana House District 41: Three Republicans – Richard Bagsby, Mark Genda and Shane Weist – are running in a redrawn district that includes the eastern part of Tippecanoe County and parts of Clinton, Montgomery, Boone counties. The winner in the May 3 primary will face Democrat Greg Woods. No incumbent is running, after Rep. Tim Brown, a Crawfordsville Republican, announced he planned to retire after this term.
Senate District 23: Four Republicans – Christian Beaver, Paula Copenhaver, Spencer Deery and Bill Webster – will be on the primary ballot. The winner in the primary will face Democrat David Sanders in the November general election. Senate District 23 covers all or parts of Tippecanoe, Vermillion, Parke, Fountain, Warren and Montgomery counties. It will essentially be an open seat, after state Sen. Phil Boots, a Crawfordsville Republican, was drawn out of the district and has since announced he plans to retire at the end of this term.
PUBLIC HEARING ON AMERICAN SUBURBAN’S PROPOSED SEWAGE RATE INCREASE WEDNESDAY NIGHT
American Suburban Utilities customers will have a chance to give their opinions on proposed sewer increases during a Wednesday evening public hearing at the Battle Ground Middle School gym, the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor announced last week.
American Suburban Utilities, which serves the outskirts of West Lafayette, in November 2021 filed for a sewer rate increase that would raise a flat monthly residential rate from $59.08 to $99.66. That’s a proposed 68%.
Since then, residential customers have resorted to online petitions in protest. The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission asked the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor to testify on the proposal April 5. The office is collecting comments through April 1.
The public hearing will be 6 p.m. Wednesday at Battle Ground Middle School, 6100 N. County Road 50 West. The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor says no decisions will be made that evening, and there will be no question and answer – just the collection of public comment.
For written comments: By email, email@example.com; on the web, www.in.gov/oucc/2361.htm; or by mail at: Public Comments, Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, 115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South, Indianapolis, IN, 46204.
For more about the rate increase request and to comment on it, here’s a page set up by the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor.
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