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August 3, 2017 • Headline News
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Voters still have option of paper or touch screen

Wanda English Burnett

The idea of using Electronic Poll Pads at election time has some people in the community wondering if they will be able to get the familiar paper ballot. Ripley County Clerk Ginger Bradford assures the public the new Electronic Poll Pads or ePoll Pads, will not affect the way people vote. “This is just a machine that you sign-in with,” she noted. It simply means when you arrive at the polls, someone will ask to see your identification, which has always been done, then your license or ID card will be swiped and your name will be entered electronically. You can then choose whether you’d like a paper ballot, or use the touch screen. It’s that simple. It makes it a lot faster for those working the polls and it’s more accurate. “It’s a much more streamlined process,” noted Bradford, who has been working diligently with her staff to make sure the election process remains smooth in the county.

The ePoll Pads can be monitored from the Election Room the night of election, making sure everything is running smoothly, according to Diane Macek, first deputy in the clerk’s office. She has used these ePoll Pads before and says they are fabulous. “For example, someone who has voted in another state, can’t come here and vote too,” she noted, saying the machine would catch that. It also alleviates someone signing their name on the wrong line, which has been done.

When the election inspector uses the wire bound books, they have to be stored for 22 months following an election, then shredded. Having the electronic pads is just a way to save time. Also, the wires and paper don’t have to be replaced each election. It only affects the sign-in process at election time. The ePoll Pads were purchased with grant money from HAVA and came in just under $43,000. These will be a one-time purchase that will save money over the years and didn’t cost taxpayers anything to start with.

Bradford stressed that although some changes will be seen in the next election, precincts have not and will not be combined. They are only combining some voting places, meaning there will be fewer poll workers – another savings to the county. More information will be forthcoming about the polling places before the election.

Bradford says people should have a valid Indiana driver’s license or ID number and they shouldn’t experience a problem if they are a Ripley County resident and vote in the county.

It is part of the duties of the county clerk to run the election. Also serving on the election board is David Green, Democrat and Don Foley, Republican. There are a lot of behind the scenes procedures to get ready for election night, but Bradford has been through several and feels confident the changes will be good, making Ripley County’s process even more efficient.

Social Security announces new online service for replacement social security cards in Indiana

Charo Boyd

Social Security AdministrationThe Social Security Administration introduced the expansion of online services for residents of Indiana available through its my Social Security portal at Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, announced that residents of Indiana can use the portal for many replacement Social Security number (SSN) card requests. This will allow people to replace their SSN card from the comfort of their home or office, without the need to travel to a Social Security office.

“I’m pleased to offer the residents of Indiana the added convenience of replacing a Social Security card through the my Social Security portal,” Acting Commissioner Berryhill said. “We will continue to work on innovative initiatives to provide people with safe, secure and convenient options for doing business with us online or in person.”

The agency is conducting a gradual roll out of this service; Indiana is one of the states, plus the District of Columbia, where this option is available. Throughout 2017, the agency will continue to expand the service option to other states. This service will mean shorter wait times for the public in the more than 1,200 Social Security offices across the country and allows staff more time to work with customers who have extensive service needs. U.S. citizens age 18 or older and who are residents of Indiana can request a replacement SSN card online by creating a my Social Security account. In addition, they must have a U.S. domestic mailing address, not require a change to their record (such as a name change), and have a valid driver’s license, or state identification card in some participating states.

My Social Security is a secure online hub for doing business with Social Security, and more than 31 million people have created an account. In addition to Indiana residents replacing their SSN card through the portal, current Social Security beneficiaries can manage their account—change an address, adjust direct deposit, obtain a benefit verification letter, or request a replacement SSA-1099. Medicare beneficiaries can request a replacement Medicare card without waiting for a replacement form in the mail. Account holders still in the workforce can verify their earnings history and obtain estimates of future benefits by looking at their Social Security Statementonline.

For more information about this new online service, visit

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