Vote election

 You don't need to look outside of our own state or even this midterm election to see some serious changes need to be made to our voting system.

These would be relatively easy fixes, given the political will:

1. PAPER BALLOTS

We have to move back to analog and away from digital.

Many ballots were not immediately counted Tuesday in St. Joseph County after a voting machine caught fire in Madison Township.

“The cause was a short-circuit which created a spark after a memory card was pulled from a voting machine,” reported WBND-TV's Esther Kather.

Even when not engulfed in flames, these machines presented problems.

A video sent to The Independent on Tuesday by a voter in Wabash Township in Tippecanoe County shows a touchscreen machine switching a vote for Democrat Tobi Beck in House District 4 to Republican Jim Baird four times before it does it right on the fifth. The same issue was reported during early voting.

2. PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE

Election Day is not a random thunderstorm outbreak, it's a completely expected occurrence and local officials should prepare accordingly.

Monroe County had to keep polls open an extra hour after running out of ballots.

In Johnson County, servers overloaded and voters were delayed for hours, though they decided not to stay open later after it was fixed.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is now being asked to investigate Porter County after supplies were not delivered, sites were not open on time, and counting of ballots didn't even begin until Wednesday.

3. SAME DAY REGISTRATION

Seventeen states plus Washington, D.C. offer same day registration, which allows any qualified resident of the state to go to register to vote and cast a ballot all in that day. Additionally, Washington has enacted same day registration, to be implemented in 2019, according to National Conference of State Legislatures.

Fifteen states plus the District of Columbia make same day registration available on Election Day.

Indiana is not among them.

Hoosier voters who didn't register by Oct. 9 were out of luck.

Other than intentionally depressing turnout, what is the argument for keeping our state's current system?

4. FEDERAL HOLIDAY

In 30 states, you are allowed to take time off work to vote. But, Indiana? You guessed it. Not us.

The entire reason Election Day is on a Tuesday to begin with is totally incoherent in 2018.

“The practice dates to 1845, when Congress tried to select a convenient time for voters living in the mostly rural society,” reported The Seattle Times' P.J. Huffstutter on Oct. 30, 2006. “By November, harvest was usually over but harsh weather hadn’t set in. Saturdays were a work day for farmers, and Sunday was for church. And Wednesday was market day in most towns. Considering it might take a full day to travel by horse to a polling station, Tuesday in early November became the choice.”

But, if we insist keeping Election Day as a weekday, the least we can do is to make it a federal holiday, preferably a three-day weekend.

Rob Burgess, News Editor at NUVO Newsweekly, can be reached by email at rburgess@nuvo.net, by phone at 317-808-4614 or on Twitter @robaburg.

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News Editor