Election board hears study group’s recommendations

The La Porte County Election Board met last week to, among other things, review the county’s preparedness for the upcoming November general election. The county has already received a reported 2,500 applications for absentee ballots.

Al Stevens, president of the South County Community Coalition, spoke in support of the early voting center for South County7. Justin Kiel, president of the La Crosse Town Council, reported that the Wanatah Town Council has unanimously approved the use of the Wanatah Town Hall for that purpose.

As anticipated, the Better Government Study Group presented a list of what it believes to be priority issues for the election and voting:

Short term for 2020 Fall General Election
1. Recommend a location, or locations, in South La Porte County for early voting.
2. Verify that enough election volunteers, poll workers, and ballot counters are chosen, trained, and show up to ensure that the election is safe, secure, and done on time. Election Board has asked that the party chairs submit their list by Sept. 1. Hold their feet to the fire.
3. Recommend that errors in the precinct maps be corrected.
4. Recommend that the system to send out absentee ballots be adjusted to prepare for an anticipated large number. Also that the counting system be adequately staffed to assure timely results. Recommend starting the counting of absentee ballots earlier.
5. Recommend that Travel Board voting be adequately staffed and efficiently run.

Longer term beyond 2020 election
1. Study the Porter County system of Board of Registration and Elections and possibly make recommendations to advocate for legislation for La Porte County.
2. Study and recommend electronic polling books and provide for a “paper trail” of voting.
3. Advocate for “no excuse” absentee balloting.
4. Advocate for documenting problems and issues that arise during elections and developing plans of corrective action.
5. Study voting by mail systems.
6. Advocate for feasibility study for the use of voting centers and a mobile voting vehicle for La Porte County.

The election board took no action on any matters, noting that the meeting’s purpose was to hear input and for the board to share information with those interested.

The board will meet again Sept. 11, at which time action may be taken.

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