Election equipment for Monroe County passes logic, accuracy test

Monroe County’s election equipment, manufactured by Hart InterCivic has passed the logic and accuracy test mandated under state statute.

The test was conducted with help from Bob and Lori White, with B&L IT Services, which is a contractor the county uses for logistics and technical support in connection with elections.

The test took place at 9:30 a.m. on Monday at the old Johnson Hardware building at 7th and Madison streets, aka Election Central.

After a test deck of 22 ballots was fed into each of the three machines, and the machines tallied up the results, every candidate in every race received 4 votes. That meant the devices selected for testing passed with 100 percent accuracy. Continue reading “Election equipment for Monroe County passes logic, accuracy test”

Monroe County voting machines pass required logic and accuracy test

Every candidate for any office in the Monroe County primary elections got exactly six votes—and that’s the way it was supposed to turn out on Thursday.

Two seated women feed test ballots into a voting machine
From left, Monroe County clerk’s office staff: Tressia Martin and Keeley Hardiman.

The occasion was the logic and accuracy test of voting equipment that’s required under state statute.

It was conducted at the old Johnson Hardware building at 7th and Madison streets, aka Election Central.

The six votes for each candidate meant that the logic and accuracy test for the Hart InterCivic machines had passed with 100 percent accuracy, according to Bob White, with B&L IT Services. That’s the consultant used by Monroe County for technical election support. Continue reading “Monroe County voting machines pass required logic and accuracy test”

Election notebook: Candidates inspect ballot proofs

On Friday for most of the day, 190 different ballot types for the May 3 primary elections were on display for review by the candidates at Monroe County’s election central.

That’s the office in the old Johnson Hardware building at 7th and Madison streets.

The B Square counted 28 candidates or their proxies who inspected ballots on Friday. That’s just 16 percent of the 172 total candidate names that will appear on ballots in Monroe County. It’s not a legal requirement that candidates inspect the ballot.

But it is a requirement of state law that ballot proofs be made available for inspection before they’re printed [IC 3-11-2-2.1]

It’s a chance for candidates to help catch misspellings of their own names before the ballots get printed.

The email message to candidates sent by Monroe County election supervisor Karen Wheeler begged them to stop by and check over the ballots: “So I will implore you to come and review. This is the time to catch anything that may be wrong.” Continue reading “Election notebook: Candidates inspect ballot proofs”

Can Monroe County commissioners, election board bury beefs before 2022?

Towards the start of their Wednesday meeting this week, the three Monroe County commissioners responded in turn to remarks made by county clerk Nicole Browne at last week’s election board meeting.

Commissioner Penny Githens led off, “To hear ourselves and to hear people in our office called liars and obfuscators is very disrespectful.”

As one the three county election board members, Browne had delivered her remarks last week on the topic of the ongoing acrimony between commissioners and the election board about space allocations for the county election division.

Under state law, the county clerk is a board member, along with one appointment made by each of the Republican and Democratic party chairs. All three county commissioners are Democrats, as is Browne.

Browne wants the county elections division to be able to consolidate all of its currently distributed space under one roof, by having the whole Johnson Hardware building at its disposal, instead of just a part of the first floor. The building, aka Election Central, is located on the southwest corner of Madison and 7th Streets.

Browne’s request has enjoyed solid support during public commentary time at meetings of the county commissioners starting in August.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Githens said, “We’re happy to work with the election board and negotiate options to hear their suggestions, but only if the dialogue is respectful.”

That dialogue could continue this week, at a joint meeting between commissioners and the election board, which has been set for Thursday at 1 p.m.

That’s when commissioners want the election board to take a vote on the alternate space that the commissioners have offered to the election division. Continue reading “Can Monroe County commissioners, election board bury beefs before 2022?”

County commissioner described as mocking county clerk, as tough talks on election space continue

Two local groups have issued statements about Zoom video-conference footage from a Monday meeting between county commissioners and the county election board, to discuss needs for physical space.

“One of our commissioners openly mocked our elected county clerk on screen,” reads part of the statement from the Monroe County chapter of the National Organization for Women about the video footage.

Naming the commissioner and the clerk was a statement from the Monroe County Black Democratic Caucus, issued by its president, William Hosea: “Monroe County Commissioner Lee Jones appears to be openly mocking the person who’s speaking. The target of her contemptuous disdain is Monroe County clerk Nicole Browne.”

Reached by The B Square, Jones said the target of her disdain was her cat. Jones says the cat was playing with yarn from a knitting project that Jones was unraveling, and hit her computer keyboard, switching on her camera.

Jones is one of three county commissioners and represents District 1, on the west side of the county, but is elected by voters countywide. As county clerk, Browne is also elected by voters countywide. The seats for both four-year terms are up for election in 2022. Continue reading “County commissioner described as mocking county clerk, as tough talks on election space continue”

Monroe County election board member on voting logistics: “We don’t want to be forced to make lemonade out of lemons.”

Monroe County commissioners want the election board to consider an approach to early voting that would use more than one location for voters to cast their ballots ahead of election day.

County commissioners would also like the election board to pursue the option of establishing “vote centers” for voting on election day. Such an approach would allow voters to cast a ballot at any county vote center, not at one assigned polling site.

Those two elements made up part of the message delivered on Thursday to the election board by president of the county commissioners, Julie Thomas.

All three commissioners attended Thursday’s meeting of the election board, to continue an ongoing debate over the space allocation for the election division.

The other key part of the message from Thomas on Thursday was a determination that the second floor of the Election Central building would remain allocated to the county’s community corrections department (probation), and not be assigned to the elections division. Continue reading “Monroe County election board member on voting logistics: “We don’t want to be forced to make lemonade out of lemons.””

Election division physical space needs: County officials meet again this week, open house scheduled

On the Wednesday morning regular meeting agenda of the Monroe County commissioners is a resolution that will establish a committee to handle the review of voting precincts and districts in light of the 2020 US Census results.

As significant as that action is, it’s not the main election news for this week in Monroe County.

On Wednesday (Sept. 1), the county commissioners will hear from county clerk Nicole Browne for the fourth time in as many weeks on the topic of space needs for the election division. The elections division is currently housed on the first floor of the old Johnson Hardware building at Madison and 7th streets. The building is known as Election Central.

Browne has told commissioners that space requirements for year-round election work and early voting point to allocation of the whole building to elections. That includes the second floor, which is currently home to the county’s probation department.

At each of the Aug. 18 and Aug. 25 regular meetings of the commissioners, at least half dozen people, all with a fair amount of community clout, spoke in support of Browne’s request. Among them were two clerks from other Indiana counties. Continue reading “Election division physical space needs: County officials meet again this week, open house scheduled”

Week 1 of early voting in Monroe County in the books: 3,662 in-person ballots cast

At the end of the first week of early voting in Monroe County, Indiana, the tally of ballots cast in person stood at 3,662.

With Election Central open from 8 a.m to 6 p.m. starting Tuesday, that total, averaged over 40 hours, works out to a throughput of about 92 voters per hour.

By day the totals were: Tuesday (899), Wednesday (857), Thursday (933) and Friday (973). Based on the persistent lines, those numbers are probably an indicator of the maximum pace for processing voters.

At that same pace, the 208 hours of early voting that are scheduled before the Nov. 3 election would yield around 19,000 voted ballots.

The latest figure from the county clerk’s office for the number of absentee mail-in ballots that have been requested is around 13,000.

That projects to at least 32,000 people voting before Election Day this year. That total could go higher, because vote-by-mail absentee ballots can still be requested. Continue reading “Week 1 of early voting in Monroe County in the books: 3,662 in-person ballots cast”

Election update: Voting machine accuracy test passed; Poll workers still needed; Registration deadline Oct. 5

At 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Monroe County’s election division started running its voting equipment through the logic and accuracy test that’s required under state statute.

After two hours of testing, the county’s equipment passed with a 100-percent score, deputy county clerk Tressia Martin told The Square Beacon.

The tests were conducted at the old Johnson Hardware Building, aka Election Central, at 7th and Madison streets. The blinds on the Madison Street side of the building were opened so that the public could watch, without going inside the building. It’s was a nod to helping prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic virus.

The completion of the accuracy test crosses one more task off the list that election staff have to complete for the Nov. 3, 2020 general election.

In early September, the board of elections had settled on 28 different polling locations for the county’s 82 precincts.  That decision was given approval by the county’s board of commissioners at its regular meeting Wednesday morning, shortly after the logic and accuracy test concluded. Continue reading “Election update: Voting machine accuracy test passed; Poll workers still needed; Registration deadline Oct. 5”