Coalition: new early voting location needed

The South County Community Coalition is calling for the creation of a new, early voting location in the southern part of La Porte County.
In a letter delivered to the LaPorte County Election Board, the coalition said that an additional early voting location will provide South County voters with a convenient alternative to mail-in voting or casting a ballot in-person on election day.
“Many Southern LaPorte County voters haven’t taken advantage of in-person early voting due to it being inconveniently located in La Porte and Michigan City,” said SCCC President Allen Stevens. “Rather than voters concerned about voting in person on election day only requesting absentee ballots, we are hoping to provide another safe and convenient way for them to do their civic duty.”The furthest South County voters live almost 45 minutes from La Porte or Michigan City, he said. This distance resulted in zero residents from the towns of Wanatah or LaCrosse participating in early voting in the 2020 primary. According to the coalition, in the 2016 general election few South County voters traveled to the courthouses to vote early; the coalition added that, of the 10 precincts with the least participation in early voting, only one of them was not south of U.S. 6.

Stevens said the group proposes Wanatah as a convenient location for South County residents and urged the election board to approve the proposal at the same time they renew the Michigan City courthouse location, something that is required by law each election. The letter to the election board was signed by the officers of the coalition, which included council members from two South County towns and other community advocates, he said.

Founded in 2016, the South County Community Coalition is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that is comprised of residents and community leaders from the seven southernmost townships in LaPorte County. It seeks to advocate for the interests of South County citizens and was instrumental in the creation of the county’s new golf cart ordinance and led the fight against an unpopular “J” turn intersection project slated for U.S. 30 and Ind. 39.

Stevens said that coalition leaders believe increasing early voting participation would benefit all voters. “Those with busy schedules or who would be out of town on election day would have a convenient opportunity to vote, and early voting could also reduce lines at the polls during a presidential election that is likely to have some of the highest voter turnout rates in recent history. We hope the election board will take up this issue promptly. The sooner voters know they have another option, the less likely they will be to overwhelm the Election Board with absentee ballot requests.”

He said the LaPorte County Better Government Study also backed the additional early voting location proposal and encouraged county election officials to take action on the request.

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