Indiana's Finest Hour

Contact: Kate Shepherd

By Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita

Indianapolis, IN -- The just-completed General Election was a momentous day for Indiana. Preliminary figures indicate a record number of Hoosiers went to the polls. As Indiana's chief election official, I was heartened to see more than 2.4 million Hoosier voters raise their voices in the most fundamental way they can. I hope we will continue to build on the enthusiasm for the political process that marked this year's election.

The two years spent getting ready for this election were worth it. There were some small hiccups, but the majority of the state reported a smooth day of voting. No election since this nation's first has been perfect, but it is still a goal for which we continue to strive, and we get closer to every year.

My office put forth an organized effort this year to supplement county poll worker training programs. We produced poll worker training videos to help educate volunteers about the changes brought by the 2002 Help America Vote Act -- especially new voting equipment and provisional ballots. We also provided training sessions for counties that requested them. The poll workers that used these tools went into Election Day with confidence. I personally helped train some poll workers and was struck by the fact that there were so many more young faces among the ranks this year. Our veteran poll workers are a treasure, but it was good to see younger generations stepping up to the plate and getting involved.

I want to thank the tens of thousands of Hoosiers who served as poll workers Tuesday. We could not accomplish the difficult task of putting on an election without this small army. Theirs is not an easy job, and I applaud those who worked from dawn until long past dusk to insure that their neighbors could choose their leaders.

I also asked local officials to plan ahead for any problems on Election Day -- and they did. In Delaware County, officials were able to successfully move the voting location for two precincts because of fumes from a floor refinishing project. Local officials, like those in Delaware County, took the time to talk about security preparations and what they would do in the event a polling place needed to be relocated because of natural disaster or other unforeseen event. Thankfully, we made it through this election unscathed and showed the world that we will not be deterred from carrying out our civic duties.

Now that the polls have been closed and the votes have been counted, I want to be sure to recognize all those Hoosiers who went to the polls or voted by absentee ballot. I especially want to thank those voters who exercised patience when there were lines at polling places and stuck it out to make sure their votes could be cast. Voters were determined to make their views known, and some endured lines that wound through polling places for as long as three hours.

Indiana voters, you should feel a sense of accomplishment. You made the entire state proud. Because of you, we were a model for the nation.