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Contact: AJ Freeney-Ruiz
Indianapolis, IN - Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita today distributed election reform money to Kosciusko 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.
Kosciusko County received $563,616 in federal and state money which was distributed by the Secretary of State's office. This brings to $21.7 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 Kosciusko County Clerk Sharon Christner to reimburse the county for the new MicroVote Infinity Voting System machines that will be accessible to all of Kosciusko County's approximately 48,000 voters in all 65 election precincts beginning with the 2006 May Primary Election. Kosciusko County will switch from punch card ballots similar to those used in Florida in the 2000 election to the new direct record voting machines.
"It's been a long road to get to this point," said Christner. "Secretary Rokita's office has been extremely helpful throughout this process, and we couldn't be more thankful for their help. We think our selection of voting machines was a good one, especially after we had voters aged from sixteen to senior citizens overwhelmingly approving of the new system after trying it at our county fair."
Christner said of the 338 people who voted on the new machine at the county fair demonstration, 285 had worked on a punch card machine and 287 liked the new machine. Christner also said Rokita's office had also been very helpful in assisting Kosciusko County as she and others tested the new Statewide Voter Registration System as one of Indiana's ten pilot counties.
"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. "Kosciusko 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.