Lake County voting machine provider to be reviewed
By Chelsea Schneider Kirk firstname.lastname@example.org November 25, 2011 10:06AM
A vote counter inserts a tally card from an electronic voting machine into a card readers as they count votes at the Lake County Government Center in Crown Point, Ind., Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Updated: November 25, 2011 10:06AM
A Ball State University-based oversight program will review the voting technology used by Lake County at the bidding of the Indiana Election Commission.
The county’s vendor, MicroVote, has not reapplied for state certification though several of its models were certified in the past.
The Election Commission ordered the review because MicroVote wants the ability to sell parts to the 47 Indiana counties using its system. A future ruling could impact Lake County’s ability to replace failed parts or purchase additional MicroVote machines.
Lake County currently has 1,050 of the machines, and county officials are exploring purchasing more machines before May’s presidential primary and November election.
“We’ve had some very good results with MicroVote,” Lake County Elections Assistant Director Nick Gasparovic said. “The equipment has held up. We do need additional machines as well, and we’re looking at purchasing some in the future.”
In the 2008 election, some voters in Gary waited in long lines until 10 p.m. to cast a ballot, Lake County Recorder and former Lake County Elections Supervisor Michelle Fajman said.
“Thousands of people waited for hours and hours to vote,” Fajman said. “Lake County is in dire need of voting machines. Next year, we’ll have a larger turnout, and I don’t want to see us hindered by not being able to purchase additional voting machines.”
MicroVote representative Steve Shamo argued the state’s grandfathering law protects the company’s equipment and that selling parts doesn’t constitute an entire voting system.
But at least one Election Commission member didn’t agree with Shamo’s reasoning.
“The reality is your company has played loose with the rules that we operate,” Election Commission Democratic Chairman Anthony Long said.