Questions raised over bill to extend voting hours

INDIANAPOLIS (AP)— County clerks are worried a proposal for extending Indiana’s Election Day voting time by two hours would make it more difficult to find enough poll workers.

The bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Tim Wesco of Osceola would change Indiana’s current 6 p.m. closing time to 8 p.m. Kentucky and Hawaii are the only other states with poll closing times that early, Wesco said.

The Indiana county clerks association told the House elections committee this past week that a longer Election Day could lead to fewer available poll workers and greater costs in paying them.

Supporters of extended voting hours said they believed it could help boost Indiana’s voting turnout that has been among the country’s lowest.

Some Republican committee members, however, said voters already have many opportunities to cast ballots ahead of Election Day if they wish to do so and doubted whether adding two hours at polling sites would make much difference in voter turnout.

A committee vote on whether to advance the bill to the full House hasn’t yet been scheduled.

2 workers wounded during attempted robbery

LAWRENCE (AP)— Two employees at a suburban Indianapolis restaurant have been shot during an attempted robbery.

Three men wearing masks entered through the rear door of the Bando restaurant in Lawrence after 7:15 p.m. Saturday, according to police.

The men encountered the restaurant workers and shot them before fleeing. The victims were taken to a hospital with wounds that were not considered life-threatening.

Several customers inside the restaurant at the time of the shooting were not hurt. The shooting occurred in the back of the restaurant, away from the dining area, police said.

No arrests have been made.

Police: Shots fired into home wound boy, 8

FORT WAYNE (AP)— An 8-year-old boy has been wounded after gunshots were fired into a northeastern Indiana home.

The boy was shot early Sunday morning in his shoulder and chest area, according to Fort Wayne police.

A doctor listed the boy’s wound as life-threatening, police added.

A preliminary investigation shows gunshots were fired from outside the home about 2 a.m. Sunday. No arrests were been made.

Steelmaker denies manipulating data after spill

PORTAGE — An Indiana steelmaker has denied allegations of manipulating results from toxic readings required after a chemical spill killed more than 3,000 fish last year.

State regulators said that ArcelorMittal’s steel plant in Burns Harbor is redoing daily ammonia and cyanide tests and sending the lower score to regulators, according to the Post-Tribune.

In a statement, ArcelorMittal denied the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s allegations.

“ArcelorMittal (Burns Harbor) does not manipulate data,” spokesman Bill Steers said in the statement. “We use certified, independent laboratories to analyze samples and we report the data, including any corrected data, from the labs to the regulatory agencies consistent with industry and laboratory standards.”

The steelmaker was required to do daily testing after a spill of cyanide and ammonia led to a fish kill and prompted closures of beaches along Lake Michigan.

Steers said the mill has been in compliance with cyanide and ammonia limits “every day since the August 2019 event concluded.”

IDEM Northwest Regional Office Deputy Director Rick Massoels wrote in a Jan. 6 letter to ArcelorMittal that the agency “cannot feel confident” in the reports. The company’s attempt to redo daily ammonia and cyanide tests “undermines the integrity” of its self-disclosures, questioning its ability to police itself, he wrote.

“ArcelorMittal’s self-monitoring program is either capable of generating valid results based upon one analysis of a given sample or it is not,” Massoels wrote.

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