November 5, 2012

League of Women Voters Cass County observe polls

League of Women Voters weigh in on voter identification, registration cards and voting operations

by Amie Sites

LOGANSPORT — League of Women Voters Cass County, who volunteered to be media watchers for the Pharos-Tribune for the election, have been observing vote centers since polls opened last Thursday. 

The league monitored vote centers Thursday, Friday and Saturday, by filling out a questionnaire and will continue through Tuesday evening. 

Janet Ingram, co-president of the local league, said members have watched polls for years, but they started the questionnaire four years ago. League members have volunteered to spend two hours throughout the day at vote centers, where they observe and complete the questionnaire.

The questionnaires look at instances of voters lacking identification, voting machine malfunctions and voter’s name not appearing in the poll book. Ingram said they are looking into procedures, not tabulation.  

“Because Cass County is one of three counties to have vote centers first, it’s important to monitor the election process and see what’s going on,” Ingram said. “It’s interesting for different members to see how the voting centers operate and with the computer system, things go very smoothly.” 

Cass, Tippecanoe and Wayne counties took part in a three-year pilot program to study vote centers. Lawmakers have since made vote centers an option for all Indiana Counties. 

Barb Reed, a member of the League of Women Voters, said the voting machines worked well and while she was observing the Cass County 4-H Fairgrounds, Howard County Clerk Kim Wilson came to visit the vote center. Reed said Wilson and those she brought with her were impressed with the vote center. 

Carolyn Cassidy, a member of the League of Women Voters, spent time observing the Logansport Mall vote center. 

Cassidy said she noticed older residents needing help because they haven’t voted recently and she noticed several first-time voters. Cassidy said, for the most part, everyone seemed excited to vote. She said she talked to an 80-year-old woman who had voted in every election.

Cassidy said voter identification hasn’t been an issue, but there have been a few people who haven’t been registered. 

Most voters who come to vote are registered, but one registered late and two came without being registered, Cassidy said. 

Myra Vanecek, a member of the League of Women Voters, agreed there weren’t issues with identification, but she said a couple of people didn’t bring their blue registration cards. 

Reed said one person forgot their registration card on Thursday and offered to go back home and get it, but was able to fill out a form at the vote center. 

Vanecek observed the Cass County Senior Center and said the crowd of voters was steady. She predicted half of registered would vote early and the others would vote on Election Day. 

“I thought it went smoothly,” Vanecek said. “There seem to be more people voting at the senior center than before.” 

Reed agreed with Vanecek. 

“Poll workers know what they are doing and helped explain the process to voters,” Reed said. “People have to get used to the machines not having a touch screen, but once they are instructed and reminded, they are fine.” 

Reed was at the fairgrounds and said an excited, first-time voter came with his grandparents to vote. 

Ingram said she observed the Royal Center Town Hall on Thursday. 

“The workers were helpful and they were steady all day,” Ingram said. 

Cassidy said there were a few people that complained about the machines, but like Ingram and Reed said, there were workers to help out. 

“So many people have said they love the voting centers,” Cassidy said. “It’s cost effective and I think people want to vote because this election is going to be close and they want their vote to count.” 

Amie Sites is a reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5150 or