With the Nov. 3 general election less than 50 days away, the county commissioners asked Ann Torpy, clerk of the superior and circuit courts, on Tuesday how things were progressing regarding voting.

On Monday, Torpy said they started mailing out absentee ballots. As of Tuesday morning, they have 1,900 to mail out by Saturday. Commissioner Bob Conley asked how that related to previous elections.

“It’s unprecedented compared to 2016 and ’12. Primary wise, when we had our primary this year, we had a total of 3,500 mail-outs, so within the first week we’re going to get close to that for the entire primary,” she said.

For the primary, Torpy said they didn’t have any issues with the mail-outs.

“The secretary of state has predicted that our county will have between 7,000 to 13,000 mail-out ballots for this election,” she said.

Commissioner Cary Groninger asked how long do people have to sign up for that.

“The last day we have to have your application would be Oct. 22 in our office,” Torpy responded.

Conley said he had several complaints and questions about a mailing he received from Indianapolis from the Republican party. He said, “They’re wanting us to let them know they can send us a ballot.”

Torpy said each political party received data from the secretary of state and they did a mass mailing over Labor Day weekend. She said the Election Board put out a news release about it and the state parties don’t have the same information that her office does.

“They don’t have information saying that you’ve already submitted an application so they sent it again just to give you an opportunity to vote by mail if you want to vote by mail. It is legitimate from the state parties, and a lot of people are getting a following-up text message from the Indiana GOP and those are not fraudulent in any way either. It’s standard, it’s just a follow-up saying, ‘We sent it to you, you’re more than welcome to use that application,’” Torpy said.

Those applications go to the Indiana secretary of state office before going to the county clerk’s office, so there is a delay.

Torpy said early voting begins Oct. 6 in her office and runs through noon Nov. 2. Saturday hours are Oct. 24 and 31 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“And we’re open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday starting Oct. 6,” she said.

Per Torpy’s request, the commissioners also approved a nondisclosure agreement with FireEye Security.

“As you know, FireEye is the company that the secretary of state has purchased for counties to use to protect their data from cyber threats, especially during the election time. So they pay for all counties in the state of Indiana. This is just an additional contract with them,” she said, adding that county attorney Chad Miner reviewed it.

Miner said it was a standard nondisclosure agreement and it was fine.

In other business, the commissioners approved:

• For County Assessor Susan Engelberth to purchase a Jeep Grand Cherokee for her office from Warsaw Buick GMC for $33,470.87.

• A request from Bob Momeyer, county IT, to spend $92,733.28 for equipment for online streaming for the Superior III and IV courts; and $192,496.16 for an upgrade of the county’s scale cluster, which is the brain of the county’s system. The funds are reimbursable by the state through CARES Act funding.

A third project also was approved for $25,000 but is not reimbursable by the state. It is to upgrade the speed between the courthouse and highway department, where disaster recovery equipment will be housed. Momeyer said he has money in his 2020 budget for it.

• Ed Rock’s request to sign a $133,000 grant award to redo the court security area in the Justice Building, which will then go through the state process.

County Administrator Marsha McSherry presented the bids for the equipment for the upgrade, including the walk-thru scanner and package x-ray machine. She said the security committee met last Friday and their recommendation was to go with SecurMar for $37,148.

The other two bids were from Adani for $47,737.38 and from Command Sourcing for $41,649.

The commissioners approved the SecurMar bid.

McSherry then presented the bid recommendation for the Justice Building secure bullet-proof glass enclosure with a sliding door for the court security. From Troy Gay Architectural Glass and Aluminum LLC, Columbia City, the bid is for $51,650.

All the expenditures will be paid from the Homeland Security grant that Rock requested permission to sign for.

McSherry said a few other bids will be coming in later, including the desk for inside the enclosure, the air system inside the enclosure and the electrical work that will need done.

• Letting McSherry and Momeyer review the bids received for video conferencing and livestreaming in the old county courthouse courtroom and multi-purpose room in the Justice Building. McSherry will bring back a recommendation to the commissioners later.

The bids included $272,375.17 from CSD Group Inc.; $293,574.87 from Millenium Sound; and $173,750 from Advanced Systems Group.

Miner then opened the telephone bids, which included: $147,626.62 total from Advanced Products Group; $65,367.09 from Intrasect Technology and $53,110 from Level 365 with a monthly fee of $8,465; and $141,668.15 from SDS Communications with a monthly charge of $1,500-$2,000 and labor costs, plus a second quote of $22,831.05.

• The second quarter claims for Kosciusko Area Bus Service, as presented by KABS General Manager Tony Peterson. The quarter ran from April 1 to June 30. The claim represents $61,342 in federal funds and $32,442 in state funds.

Peterson also presented the capital vehicle purchase. On Sept. 3, KABS received  a medium transit bus that seats about 12 passengers and two wheelchair passengers.

“The current request of 80% is $44,960, with the applied local match of 20%, which is $12,622. This brings the total to $57,582,” Peterson said.

The bus is not in operations yet and is replacing another bus, he said. The commissioners approved the purchase.

• An ordinance for Eli Lilly Road to be formally named Eli Lilly Road, as requested by Miner on behalf of the Area Plan Commission. Miner said the road has always been known as that but the ordinance officially adopts that as the road’s name.