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Indiana secretary of state says text hotline will aid voters

Indiana Secretary of State says text hotline will aid voters

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana’s top election officer said he wants to make it easier for voters to reach his office if any issues come up at the polls.

Secretary of State Diego Morales told News 8 his office has set up a text hotline voters can use on Election Day. Voters can text IN to 45995 for anything from questions about their ballot or their elected officials to any security concerns. He said his goal with the system is to make voting much easier.

Tuesday will be the first election Morales has overseen since he was elected secretary of state a year ago. Besides launching the text hotline, he said he has met with county clerks, sheriffs, and prosecutors in all 92 counties to talk about ways to make elections more secure. He also has hired a chief information officer to oversee cybersecurity efforts.

State lawmakers last year passed legislation to require all counties to use a voter-verifiable paper audit trail, or VVPAT, for all electronic voting machines by July 1, 2024. Morales said the state is on track to meet the deadline, though some counties still won’t have them for Tuesday’s election. He said the VVPAT machines still have to be tested and certified.

News 8 also asked Morales about a recent report that showed his office gave out many times more staff bonuses than all other statewide elected offices put together. State personnel regulations do allow for such bonuses. Morales said he gave them out after staff told him shortly after he started they had been promised bonuses and raises. He said he gave most of the bonuses on June 30 because that was the last day of the 2023 budget year.

“If you’re a hard worker, you deserve to be compensated,” he said. “In state government, we do it to retain those good employees.”

Morales said voters should study the candidates before they go to the polls. He said you will be able to vote if you are still in line at the stroke of 6 p.m. If anyone tries to tell you you can’t vote, Morales said to call his office right away.

All INdiana Politics airs at 9:30 a.m. Sundays.