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Contact: Jen Fanger
Merrillville, IN - Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita announced today two initiatives he will undertake to combat vote fraud in Lake County and throughout Indiana.
During the 2007 Municipal Primary Election, Rokita will exercise his statutory authority the State's Chief Election Officer to enter polling places and observe elections firsthand. He will do this in Lake County, where the 2003 East Chicago Mayoral Primary was overturned due to pervasive vote fraud, and he will use deputies to observe polling places in other parts of the state.
"Inside polling places, we can serve as a first line of defense against vote fraud," said Rokita. "It is imperative that we work to improve voter confidence by ensuring voters that each legitimate vote will count and will not be diluted or canceled out by fraudulent activity."
The law enacted in 2005 that authorizes the Secretary of State to enter polling places, prohibits doing so when the Secretary is on the ballot. 2007 will be the first election cycle during which Rokita will be able to act under the polling place provision.
Rokita also announced today that the comprehensive poll worker training curriculum developed by his office for election administrators is available for use by political parties as well. The County Election Board ultimately bears responsibility for training poll workers, but political parties often sponsor additional training for poll watchers and others.
"Political parties play a vital role in our electoral process," said Rokita. "We simply want to be sure they have access to accurate, up-do-date information about elections and election law. It is my sincere hope that both major parties will take full advantage of these resources."
Since April 2006, Rokita has maintained 1-866-IN-1-VOTE as a statewide voter helpline for election issues ranging from locating a polling place to reporting suspected vote fraud. Indiana Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter announced today that he has set-up a toll-free telephone line at 1-888-547-0001 for Lake County residents to report potential vote fraud leading up to, during and following the 2007 May primary election.
"One of the best ways to combat vote fraud is to empower voters and poll workers to report it when they see it," said Rokita. "I am pleased that Attorney General Carter is offering this service to Lake County as a way to further improve the integrity of our elections and the confidence of honest voters."