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Elections & Politics

Election Board Hopes New System Solves Polling Woes

Stan Jastrzebski

Tippecanoe County officials are hoping a new check-in system will make Election Day less stressful for both voters and volunteers.

The last several election cycles have been plagued with problems related to the county’s check-in system, from long waits for voters to stressful situations for volunteers. For example, the e-pollbooks have had difficulty connecting with the county’s voter database, and last November, an issue with the system distributed the wrong ballot to nearly 100 people during early voting.

The County Election Board, frustrated with the county’s current slow-moving, glitch-heavy system, narrowed four new choices down to one Thursday morning. The new vendor—Votec—has worked with the county in the past, but ducked out of Indiana a few years ago when a new law required companies to be certified to operate in the state.

Even though he had originally championed Votec’s rival’s, Election Systems and Software, for its proximity to Lafayette, Votec’s history with the county proved persuasive for Board Co-Director Brian Mangus.

There should be a comfort level with the two years Votec operated in Tippecanoe County with no issues,” said Mangus.

County Clerk Crista Coffey agreed. She says even though the support staff is farther away, Votec’s always been responsive and available to help.

“Their support staff has always gone above and beyond,” she said. “Even if they’re in another state in another time zone, they have always been available to us as needed.”

She said a smooth-running system is important for the large crowds expected for this year’s presidential race: It’s because of having worked with them before and having full confidence in their ability to help is with the upcoming—huge!—general election.”

Votec officials had raised questions during their presentation about whether they could deliver the technology on time for this year’s election, but Tippecanoe County leaders say they’ve been convinced the system can be up and running before early voting starts in October. 

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