Porter County begins talk of consolidating voting sites
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent June 21, 2012 3:04PM
Updated: June 27, 2012 9:58AM
Voters in three Portage precincts will be going to new polling places for the November general election.
The news opened discussion during the Porter County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday about centralizing the county’s 123 polling places as cost-savings measure.
“I reiterate my support for centralized polling and eliminating two-thirds of the voting places,” John Evans, president of the Board of Commissioners, said, adding people drive to their polling places anyway.
Evans, R-North, favors reducing the number of polling spots to 10.
That’s something the county can look into next year, when no regular elections are scheduled, Kathy Kozuszek, Democrat director of voter registration for the county, said.
The shift, she said, would still be costly.
“The costs are still there. We have to notify voters in each and every election,” she said.
The polling place changes in Portage are as follows:
• About 930 Precinct 6 voters will go to the Best Western, 6200 Melton Road, instead of the nearby Hampton Inn, because the Hampton Inn no longer has the meeting room that was used as a polling place.
• Voters in Precincts 19 and 31 will now cast their ballots at the South Haven Library, 403 W. County Road 700N, instead of at Our Lady of Sorrows parish. That impacts 1,423 voters.
In other business, the commissioners heard an update on the progress of the county’s jobs cabinet, which was created in January to focus on job creation and identify shovel-ready project sites in the county.
Bill Hanna, the cabinet’s facilitator, said the 11-member group of business and community leaders is about halfway through its task and hopes to have a report complete by the end of the year.
The cabinet was set up to expire within 12 to 18 months of its creation. The effort was expected to cost at least $100,000, with 75 percent of the budget coming from the county.
Commissioners also amended the county’s 911 ordinance in light of the state’s mandated consolidation of 911 communication centers. While telephone fees for the 911 system had gone directly to the county, those fees will go to the state starting on July 1, and then be redistributed to the county.