Home International Lake County election administrators complete certifications, create guidebooks

Lake County election administrators complete certifications, create guidebooks

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The Lake County Board of Elections and Registration director and assistant director say they are the only two election administrators in Indiana to hold two major election certifications, one of which required them to create a project that is now being requested by other election officials nationally.

Director Michelle Fajman and assistant director LeAnn Angerman became Certified Elections Registration Administrators through Auburn University and The Election Center in 2022. In May, they graduated from the nationally recognized Certificate in Election Administration, Technology, and Security program, according to a Lake County Board of Elections and Registration office press release.

“It’s a huge impact to go through both rigorous training sessions and classes on these. We stand by what we preach, knowledge is power. Continue learning,” Fajman said.

The two certifications allow them to become more knowledgeable in their field, Angerman said, which in turn allows them to better serve voters.

As part of the CEATS program, Fajman and Angerman created a “Flipcharts and Flowcharts,” a four-part guide to educate four target audiences: poll workers, voters, election officials and election administrators.

The 32-page poll worker guide gives information about how poll workers are selected, the different types of poll workers and training to how to operate the polling machines, what to do if not all the poll workers arrive on election day and the photo identification law.

The 32-page voter guide gives information about the four ways to vote, how to register to vote, what to do if you moved, straight-party voting, and photographs at the polling location.

The 11-page election officials guide gives information about election day preparation, assistance in the polls, surrendering voted ballots at the polls and photo identification guidance, while the 15-page administrative guide addresses staff training, physical and cyber security, conflict management and campaign finance.

“We knew that we needed to get accurate and vetted information out to the public, and we felt that it would be best done by creating modules that were designed specifically for their audiences,” Angerman said.

The project received a Help America Vote Act grant of $89,570, which was used to professionally print the guidebooks, according to the release.

The Indiana Secretary of State has reached out to the office, Fajman said, to request if it can use part of the guide. Through networking in the CERA program, Fajman said election officials in Ohio and Pennsylvania have asked to use parts of the guide.

The guidebooks have also been made available in most of the Lake County library, given to political party leaders throughout the county and various League of Women Voters chapters, Fajman said.

Poll workers used an earlier version of their guidebook during the 2023 general election, Fajman said, and a revised version in the 2024 primary election last month.

“We’re really proud of the product that we created,” Fajman said. “All of us election administrators, we’re all facing the same questions and concerns, and so we wanted to create something that truly could be used by a lot of different people.”

During the CEATS program, Fajman said she enjoyed learning about the certification process for the voting systems. In the CERA program, Angerman said she most enjoys networking with election administrators from across the country.

Fajman and Angerman both said the best part of completing the two certifications was working together on them.

“Michelle and I have both worked on this project. I can’t imagine doing it with anyone else. We have a fantastic bipartisan board, Michelle and I are bipartisan and the project reflects that,” Angerman said.

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