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Election Task Force to Release Recommendations

WISH-TV Indianapolis, IN   04 August 2004

(Indianapolis) Marion County should anticipate some changes in the voting process this fall. They're being brought about by the ballot shortages and software problems seen last spring.

A task force studied those problems and will release a report on Thursday. News 8 received a copy of the report early.

At election time it is rare for both a republican and a democrat to say the same thing.

"Everybody gets to vote when they want to vote and that there's ballot security,” said Republican Paul Ricketts.

"Making things more convenient for the voter and ensuring the voters that they were voting in absolute confidence," added Steve Talley.

Both men were members of a task force responsible for examining the voting process. Now that the task force's work is done.

"It was very lively," laughed Talley.

Ballot shortages and problems with the new voting machines gave the task force plenty to consider.

"I think we wholeheartedly endorse the fact that it should be our own people that are programming the computers," said Ricketts.

And the task force came up with a new word – “re-precincting."

That means re-drawing the voting precincts in Marion County. Doris Anne Sadler, the Marion County clerk stated that is the most important recommendation of the task force.

"It is long, long overdue. We have too many precincts [and] they are off balance 3000 people in one and 50 in another," explained Sadler.

The task force explained that the voting would be more efficient that way and fewer precincts mean fewer poll workers. Right now, it's hard to find enough people for all of the polling places.

A lot of what's in the task forces’ report depends on bipartisan support.

“Yes, there are a few legislative changes that would be required to be made and some more grandiose ideas that are going to take a lot more work,” said Sadler. “A lot more consensus. But, all-in-all, I think they're things that we can accomplish."

Only two changes can be made in time for the November election Sadler said. They can improve training for the poll workers and they can make voting systems more secure.

Sadler said those two changes and some others wouldn’t be visible to voters. But, they'll help fulfill the task force's mission of raising public confidence in the process.

The task force will offer the report to the Marion County Election Board on Thursday afternoon.

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