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Voting Problems, Fraud, Scandals Plague Polling Places Across America: Indiana. Part 1
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Voting Problems, Fraud, Scandals Plague Polling Places Across America: Indiana. Part 1

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INDIANA – November 19, 2018

In Indiana, problems in the polling stations began before the election itself, where there weren’t enough poll workers to handle all the voters.

Although the authorities said the problem would be solved quickly, no one was able to fulfill their obligations qualitatively. Most estimates suggest they lacked 185 staff members.

"We have a couple of beads of sweat on our foreheads because we need more counters and couriers to make sure things run smoothly," said Russell Hollis, Deputy Director at the Marion County Clerk's office, said the day before the election.

A lack of poll workers only aggravates what is already a long day with long lines and impatient voters.

"It would create longer lines and cause delays in some polling locations, which would be terrible. We need election workers to keep that from happening," Hollis said.

Many said the elections were early this time around and that the people had the right to vote earlier than November 6. Many such people made this argument, but the state was not prepared.

Early voting was unusually heavy this year. More early ballots were cast than during a typical presidential election and ten times more than in the last off-year election.

In Anderson, people had to wait in line for more than half an hour to cast their ballots on the second floor of the Government Center with the line extending down the hallway, Pharos-Tribune reported.

One resident, Matt Petty, said he votes early when it is convenient and that he had been waiting 15 minutes. He normally works on Election Day, so voting early is a convenience.

"It would be really nice to have other locations," said Petty, who resides in Alexandria. "We actually tried."

Another Anderson resident Lana Wood admitted voting was not inconvenient, but she did express surprise that there was a line.

Wood said the race for the Madison Circuit Court Division 3 judgeship locally and the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Democrat Joe Donnelly and Republican Mike Braun brought her to the voting booth.

After the elections, the FBI and commissioners in a northwestern Indiana county discovered that one of the polling stations was open until Tuesday evening, although by law all polling stations had to stop working on Monday evening. In addition, according to commissioners, there were dozens of other "alleged violations of Indiana Election Law" in the state during the election.

The actions of the commissioners caused concern and discontent among voters who staged a protest right in front of the office in Porter County. The FBI didn't avoid the calls of the people to conduct fair elections.

chicagotribune.com

Then commissioners announced that they had reached out to the FBI to request an investigation Wednesday.

Further investigation revealed that the delay in the vote count affected three districts -- for House districts 4 and 19 and Senate District 7.

But the problem with the calculations was solved in such a way that all the votes after 18 hours on November 6 and until November 7, inclusive, were considered as votes for November 6.

The commissioners' office in Valparaiso said in a statement late Wednesday afternoon that the commissioners had asked the FBI to investigate the alleged election violations reported "by poll workers, voters, and the public." The commissioners' statement did not specify what those alleged violations involved.

County Commissioner Laura Blaney said later the vote counting delay was caused by several problems, including the need for 12 county polling sites to stay open late Tuesday after those sites failed to open on time. Absentee and early ballots had also not been sorted in a timely fashion on Tuesday, she said.

The counting of votes was overseen by Sundae Schoon, the voter registration office's Republican director and her Democratic counterpart, Kathy Kozuszek.

"We are being very thorough," Kozuszek said.

Porter County Commissioner Jim Biggs attributed the county's woes to a variety of factors, including heavy voter turnout, but said "big changes" were needed to prevent a report of the situation in the county of about 170,000 residents.

"What we have here is a total breakdown in the process," he said.

Later on Wednesday, some media reported that, allegedly, by the end of the elections and the counting of votes in Indiana, unofficial data was published, and officials said that the problem arose because of earlier problems in the elections. That's at least 22,000 votes. In fact, there were several more.

Faulty equipment was one of the biggest problems in many states. In Indiana, two of the largest cities in Johnson County were affected. As it turned out, voting machines at some polling stations stopped working for several hours on Election Day, which caused huge lines and confusion.

And while the mayors have no jurisdiction over county-run elections, they say the extended delays affected their residents who were trying to vote Tuesday.

"We shouldn't be paying for a system that we struggle with," said Franklin Mayor Steve Barnett. "I mean this is 2018."

"Obviously, there's a problem with this vendor and the vendor needs to be held accountable," Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers supported his colleague. "He sold us a faulty piece of equipment."

Voters found themselves waiting in line for several hours as online systems seemed to freeze. Some voters, like Jennifer Albright, left their polling site without voting.

"I have to go do a few things and eat before I go pick up my kids to take them home," Albright said. "I'm a bus driver."

Just before 11 a.m., Election Systems &Software released a statement that said “We are investigating the potential issue and working with elections officials to shorten wait times.”

At 2:39 p.m., ES&S servers for the management of voting machines released a follow-up statement, according to FOX59:

"The issue in Johnson County, Indiana has been resolved, resulting in faster check-in times for voters. Earlier in the day, the poll book, which is used to check in voters but is not related to voting machines themselves, was running slowly. The poll book operation is now significantly improved. We apologize to voters and to elections officials in Johnson County, Indiana for longer wait times than expected, and we thank everyone for their patience."

During a 3 p.m. briefing, Johnson County Election Board Chair Phil Barrow announced that election workers around the county had implemented a change that allowed them to bypass ES&S servers in order to get voting systems back up to normal speed. Once ES&S resolved their issue, poll books were put back on their servers and continued running normally.

To be continued…

Author: USA Really