Starke County Election Board Continues Discussing Secure Storage Options for Voting Machines

Steps are being taken to secure Starke County’s voting machines. Clerk Vicki Cooley told the rest of the election board Wednesday that plans are in the works to build a state-compliant secure storage room, within an existing storage area.

But first, Cooley wants to talk with a MicroVote representative who has worked with other counties on voting machine storage. “So I thought if we could get him back to know what kind and how large the shelving is going to be, we would have a better estimate of how big that room should be, then,” she said, “because I wouldn’t want it any bigger than what we have to have.”

With the construction of the secure room still likely a few months off, Cooley said the county’s maintenance staff has installed a locking door, to limit access to the larger storage area. But she didn’t think that temporary arrangement would meet the state’s requirement for the long-term, since Clerk’s Office and court staff regularly need access to the area. “We have to unlock it in order to go to the files,” she explained. “The court has to unlock it to go to the files or even to the restroom. So that isn’t feasible.” Cooley said there are plans to move some of the files out of that particular storage area, but some criminal records will remain there. She said the area is not usually accessed by the public for searches.

Board member Peg Brettin suggested seeing whether the county could get a waiver to keep the voting machine storage as it currently is, on the condition that only Clerk’s Office and court staff have access to the area.