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Elkhart County gets rid of the last of their paper ballots

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Employees at the Elkhart County Election Board and Voter Registration Office are busy storing their voting machines for next year. They're also getting rid of what's left of their paper ballots. Which, according to the chief deputy of the clerk, Christopher Anderson, isn't a lot.

"We really don't have all that many, probably about 200 or so, that we're going to be destroying," Christopher Anderson said.

That's because Elkhart County has gone electronic, except for absentee ballots, all voting is done on a touch screen machine.

It's very different from neighboring St. Joseph County where ballots were printed for every one of its registered voters. That's more than 210,000 people, but with a voter turnout in St. Joseph County of about 53 percent, nearly 100,000 paper ballots will be destroyed, costing taxpayers money. This is no longer a problem in Elkhart County.

"It's not just the wasting, but it's much more convenient," said Chad Clingerman, office manager of Voter Registration.

It's a big change from 2012 when they had to send dozens of boxes of unused ballots to a landfill. Anderson says during a 4-year election cycle they had to eliminate about 315,000 extra ballots. Now that's not the case, saving about $120 ,000 of taxpayer dollars.

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St. Joseph County is currently undergoing a recount in the District 3 school board election. Incumbent Bill Sniadeki lost to Leslie Anne Wesley by just 46 votes. The thousands of ballots that don't have anything to do with that race have already been shredded.

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