Depsite plea, Hebron won’t get early voting site for Nov. election
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent August 22, 2014 5:56PM
Updated: September 26, 2014 1:16PM
VALPARAISO — Hebron will have to wait it out to get an early voting site.
Terri Waywood, the town’s clerk, approached the Porter County Election Board Friday to ask it to consider an early voting site at Hebron’s Town Hall because south county does not have one.
She wasn’t approaching the board in her capacity as town clerk, she said, but as someone who’s lived in Hebron for 57 years and whose mother, Pat Hamann, who accompanied Waywood to the meeting, sat out an election for the first time during the May primary because she was concerned about parking and having to stand in line at the polls.
“I think the voters in Hebron should have the same privileges as other voters,” Waywood said.
County Clerk and board member Karen Martin, a Republican, said the board talked about the matter in the spring but couldn’t come to a unanimous vote to establish a site, which is required by state statute.
Because the county already has three satellite centers for the November general election, in Valparaiso, Portage and Chesterton, and because of the need to order equipment for an additional site, Martin said it was “late in the game” to establish one in south county.
State statute dictates that early voting sites used in a primary must be used in a general election, board attorney Ethan Lowe said, and while the law is unclear, it seems as though another center could be added for the general election with a unanimous vote.
“I would move we honor the request because the only thing that can happen is increasing the vote,” said board member J.J. Stankiewicz, a Democrat.
Martin voted for it but board president David Bengs, a Republican, held off and said he’s not opposed to adding a south county satellite voting site for the next election but, given the consternation in the spring to establish the existing sites, “I’m not going to upset that apple cart now.”
“I’m going to hold you to your promise for next year,” Waywood said.
In other business, Kenard Taylor, executive director of the Porter County Republican Party, submitted a letter to the board Wednesday to withdrew a request he made before the primary for the board to review the signs of four Democratic candidates.
He requested at the time that the board require each candidate add “for” or “elect” to their signs.
Taylor said in the letter that the board members must vote unanimously on the matter for any action to occur.
“While I still feel this is a violation of the law, I do not feel there will be a unanimous vote of the board,” Taylor said.
He is instead looking into a change in state law to resolve the matter.