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Contact: AJ Freeney-Ruiz
Indianapolis, IN - Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita today distributed election reform money to LaPorte County. This was part of the latest round of funding Rokita's office is giving to counties from the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002.
LaPorte County received $642,000 in federal and state money which was distributed by the Secretary of State's office. This latest round of reimbursements brings to $29.9 million the total distributed under HAVA to Indiana counties since Rokita's office began distributing funds to help pay for voting equipment upgrades resulting from the required phase-out of lever and punch card voting machines.
Rokita personally met with LaPorte County Clerk Lynne Spevak to reimburse the county for the new MicroVote Infinity Voting System machines that will be accessible to all of LaPorte County's approximately 79,000 voters in all 81 election precincts beginning with the 2006 May Primary Election. LaPorte County will switch from punch card ballots.
"I'm glad LaPorte County can now move beyond the antiquated punch card system we once used," said Spevak. "This project could not have been undertaken without the help of the Secretary of State's office."
Though the LaPorte County Commissioners were integral in selecting the machines, none were able to attend due to their attendance at the Indiana Association of County Commissioners Conference in Indianapolis. "We chose the Microvote machines because we wanted the most state-of-the-art compact system on the market that also was accessible to disabled voters," County Planner Mitch Bishop said on behalf of the County Commissioners.
"It is great to see federal and state money being put to good use to help ensure fair and efficient elections for Hoosiers," Rokita said. "LaPorte County can now focus on other election matters."
Congress passed HAVA in response to issues in various parts of the country during the 2000 Presidential Election. HAVA requires states and counties to replace all punch card and lever machine voting systems by January 1, 2006. A number of Indiana counties will be eligible for additional funding in the coming months.