County voting equipment passes test ahead of May primary

Johnson County’s election equipment is ready for the upcoming municipal primary after nearly 2.5 hours of testing Tuesday.

County election officials and a representative from MicroVote, the county’s election equipment vendor, held a public test of voting equipment during a Johnson County Election Board meeting in the basement of the county courthouse Tuesday. For the test, officials set up 10 voting machines, with attached voter-verified paper audit trail systems, and an absentee ballot reader. All of the equipment passed the tests, said Trena McLaughlin, county clerk.

State law requires counties to test 5% of the machines they will use in an upcoming election, and 189 machines will be used on Election Day. This number came out to around 9.47 machines, and county officials opted to round it up to 10 machines, McLaughlin said.

The total number of machines used this year is lower than last year’s primary. There will also be fewer vote centers this year because it’s a municipal election and some areas will not have as much turnout, she said.

“We went down to 15 vote centers for this election, but we still definitely have plenty of machines for everyone,” she said.

As part of the test, Kevin Service, the Democratic member of the election board, Mary Price, a proxy for Phil Barrow, a Republican member of the election board, and McLaughlin cast sample ballots on an equal number of machines to make sure there were no errors.

The test was advertised and the public was welcome to attend, but no one did.

The test included several of the county’s precincts, including those in Franklin, Greenwood, New Whiteland and Bargersville. It took each tester about 3-to-4 minutes to submit a ballot, which is about how long it should take someone to vote once they reach the booth during early voting or on Election Day.

Officials also tested the county’s voter-verified paper audit trail systems, or VVPATs. The equipment is designed to show voters who they voted on paper before sending in their vote on the machine, essentially a voter’s “double check” to make sure their vote is counted accurately, McLaughlin said.

If there’s a problem, the voter is expected to call over an election official to look at the machine to make sure their vote is recorded correctly before they finish voting.

“Once you hit the cast vote button, your vote’s been cast so we can’t go back,” McLaughlin said. “But if they go back and verify it before, then they can look and see like maybe they thought they’d hit the (correct) button and they really didn’t.”

VVPATS were used last year for early voting, and officials will once again use them this year for early voting, the May primary and the election in the fall, she said.

Starting next year, every county in the state using Infinity voting machines with Microvote will be required to use VVPATs for all elections, and Johnson County wanted to get ahead of the game, McLaughlin said.

“We wanted to go ahead and get them out for Election Day and let our poll workers get used to using those,” she said.

The goal of the public test is to instill voter confidence in what election officials do, make sure the machines work, catch any invalid entries and make sure the printouts match what was entered into each ballot on the machines. The test ballots will not be counted in the election, and MicroVote representatives cleared the system at the end of the public test, McLaughlin said.

A certification of the results from the public test will be sent to the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office for certification.

Ahead of early voting, election officials have mailed out more than 59 absentee ballots to those who had applied for one so far. This is a little bit more than what McLaughlin was expecting, she said.

“We actually had a few more for this election than what we did the first day we started voting the primary for absentee four years ago,” she said.

A total of 269 absentee ballots were received by county election officials for the 2019 municipal primary, records show.

Voters have less than a month to request mail-in ballots. Completed applications are due by 11:59 p.m. April 20.

In-person early voting is set to begin April 17. The Johnson County Courthouse will be open for voting during the week, with four other vote centers scattered throughout the county open the two weekends and the week leading up to Election Day. For that week, the satellite centers will close at 6 p.m., an hour earlier than last year.

Three retirement community satellite vote centers, located at Greenwood Village South, Otterbein SeniorLife and Compass Park, will be open for four hours on two separate days.

Fifteen vote centers will be open on May 2 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Only Johnson County residents who live within municipal boundaries can vote this year, as there are no federal, state or county seats up for grabs. Candidates are running for office in Franklin, Greenwood, Bargersville, Edinburgh, Whiteland, New Whiteland, Trafalgar and Prince’s Lakes for positions including mayor, city and town council, clerk-treasurer, city judge and city clerk.

Contested races include city councils in Greenwood and Franklin, and town councils in Bargersville, Whiteland, Trafalgar and Prince’s Lakes. Greenwood also has contested races for mayor and city judge, while Bargersville has a contested race for clerk-treasurer.

A total of 80,904 Johnson County residents are registered and eligible to vote in the primary election. Including residents of unincorporated areas not eligible to vote this year, there are 116,622 total registered voters in the county, according to the Johnson County Clerk’s Office.

Residents can go online to register at by 11:59 p.m. April 3 to be eligible to vote in the May election. They can also register in person at the county’s voter registration office, located in the courthouse, by 4:30 p.m. April 3, the same time mail-in applications must arrive at the courthouse. Mail-in applications can be sent to the Johnson County Voter Registration Office, 5 E. Jefferson St., Franklin.

Residents can also register to vote at any license branch but should check with the voter registration office to make sure their application went through.

“We want the voter to be able to vote, but if we don’t have a receipt and there’s nothing in our system, then it’s too late to register to vote in this election,” McLaughlin said. “So just make sure with the (Indiana) BMV, make sure you have your receipt or call our office and verify that we have received the registration.”


Here is a look at when and where you can cast your ballot early. Early voting runs from April 17 to May 1:

Johnson County Courthouse, 5 E. Jefferson St., Franklin

8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. April 17-21 and April 24-28
8 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 22 and 29 (Saturdays)
8:30 a.m. to noon May 1

White River Public Library, 1664 Library Blvd., Greenwood

8 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 22 and 29 (Saturdays)
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 26-28

Greenwood Public Library (east door, meeting room), 310 S. Meridian St., Greenwood

8 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 22 and 29 (Saturdays)
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 26-28

Trafalgar Public Library, 424 S. Tower St., Trafalgar

8 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 22 and 29 (Saturdays)
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 26-28

John R. Drybread Community Center, 100 E. Main Cross St., Edinburgh

8 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 22 and 29 (Saturdays)
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 26-28

Greenwood Village South Retirement Community, 295 Village Lane, Greenwood

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 24

Otterbein SeniorLife Community, 1070 W. Jefferson St., Franklin

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 25

Compass Park/Indiana Masonic Home (Events Hall), 690 State St., Franklin

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 26

Source: Johnson County Voter Registration


Here is a look at approved Johnson County Election Day vote centers. Election Day is May 2, and voters can vote from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.:

» Mt. Auburn Church, 3100 W. Stones Crossing Road, Greenwood

» White River Public Library, 1664 Library Boulevard, Greenwood

» Community Church of Greenwood (main entrance foyer), 1477 W. Main St, Greenwood

» Greenwood Christian Church, 2045 Averitt Road, Greenwood

» Greenwood Public Library (east door, meeting room), 310 S. Meridian St., Greenwood

» Greenwood Bible Baptist Church, 1461 Sheek Road, Greenwood

» Grace Assembly of God, 6822 N. U.S. Highway 31, New Whiteland

» Clark Pleasant Public Library, 350 Clearwater Boulevard, Whiteland

» Bargersville Town Hall, 24 N. Main St., Bargersville

» Franklin Community Center, 396 Branigin Boulevard/State St., Franklin

» Grace United Methodist Church, 1300 E. Adams Drive, Franklin

» Trafalgar Public Library, 424 S. Tower St., Trafalgar

» Princes Lakes Town Hall, 14 E. Lakeview Drive, Nineveh

» John R. Drybread Community Center, 100 E. Main Cross St., Edinburgh

» Scott Hall, Johnson County Fairgrounds, 250 Fairground St., Franklin

Source: Johnson County Voter Registration