News and Tribune

Election 2012

November 8, 2012

Turnout led to big Election Day problems in Clark County

Clerk says training issues caused problems; Republican party chair disagrees

CLARK COUNTY —  Large voter turnout, ballot shortages and training issues led to long lines and late tabulations on Election Day in Clark County, according to the county clerk.

Across the county, about 54 percent of registered voters turned out to participate in this year’s election. Some precincts were much higher than that, County Clark Barbara Haas said.

“That’s a huge number of active voters,” Haas said. “You combine that with inexperience at the polls, and you’ve got some problems.”

The Republican Party was responsible for providing inspectors at the polls for the second consecutive year. Republican Party Chairman Jamey Noel denied that training was an issue with his people.

“I don’t think it was on our part,” Noel said. “The clerk runs the election along with the election board, and you have two Democrats on the election board and one Republican appointment. It’s their responsibility to run the election.

“And how ironic it was heavy Republican areas that didn’t have a proper amount of ballots.”

According to Haas, Clark County Voter Registration hosted a training session for poll workers Oct. 29. Only five of 72 inspectors showed up for the county-sponsored training, Haas said.

“They didn’t know how to open the machines,” Haas said. “They didn’t know what they were supposed to be doing as an inspector. All of that stuff that would have been handled at a training session.”

The Republican Party hosted its own training session Nov. 1, and was attended by more than 200 poll workers, as well as Bubby Vissing, who is a voting machine specialist with Clark County Voter Registration, Noel said. He said the training given by the party was substantively the same as the training the county gave Oct. 29.

“It was a really well-attended training, really informative and thorough,” Noel said.

He said the training conducted by the Republican Party relied on a PowerPoint presentation for poll workers taken from the website of the Indiana Secretary of State’s office and Vissing’s instruction on how to use the voting machines. Haas said there were county-specific components missing from the Nov. 1 training, including supply pick-up and what must be brought back to voter registration at the end of the night.

“In my mind, that’s the practical things that you cover that you’re not going to see in a PowerPoint from the Secretary of State’s office, because that’s going to vary from county to county. Those are particular things,” Haas said.

Haas, a Democrat, did not attend the Republican Party-conducted training. She said she wasn’t invited. Noel said Haas told him she had other obligations that day.

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