#1StudentNWI: Spotlight on Porter County Clerk Jessica Bailey

#1StudentNWI: Spotlight on Porter County Clerk Jessica Bailey
By: Nicholas Fortin Last Updated: April 16, 2020

Have you ever wondered what the County Clerk does and who the person is in charge of the elections in the county? Here’s an interview with Porter County Clark Jessica Bailey. 

When asked about her job, Bailey talked about being able to work with different parts of the community, as well as different departments in the county to help the needs of the community. She also talked about her role in the election and how she has a front row seat to it. She has the unique opportunity to educate voters on how to be registered, different options of voting available to them, and the locations where voting takes place. She enjoys helping voters be able to have a voice in the elections. 

“With the changes in the Primary for 2020, we are working to encourage voters to vote absentee by mail and educate voters on the process to vote by mail,” Bailey said. “We have worked with the Porter County Commissioners to make the information more prominent on the county website, as well as provide information on our social media pages and in press releases.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges, Bailey is helping ensure that voters can exercise their rights and stay safe.  

“We have ordered additional supplies to accommodate the uptick in absentee by mail voting,” Bailey added. “We are also preparing for in-person voting and Election Day voting as we would normally conduct, but with extra precautions. We have reached out to the Porter County Health Department and Porter County Facilities Department to create a safe environment for voters and Election Workers.”

Bailey discussed what her job consists of day to day.

“The job of the Clerk of the Circuit and Superior Courts is to manage the court information, and the chief financial officer for all monies collected on behalf of the court,” she said.

The Porter County Clerk oversees three clerk’s offices—located in Porter County Courthouse, North County Government Complex, and Juvenile Detention Center—and the Elections & Registration office located in the Porter County Administration Building.

“The clerk’s offices often are tasked with docketing court work, taking payments on cases and traffic violations, collecting payments for child support, processing marriage applications and licenses, and providing information for protective orders. In addition, in Indiana the Clerk is the official that oversees and conducts elections,” Bailey said.

Bailey said that in order to be on the ballot for county clerk, you have to be a registered voter in the county and you have to have no felony convictions. Bailey said if there’s one thing she doesn’t like about her job, it’s that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything with ease. Since taking the seat, she’s been very busy.

“I am currently in my second year of serving as the Porter County Clerk. Since taking office I have worked with other governmental entities to secure new and upgraded election equipment for Porter County voters, including a central count machine to allow the counting of absentee ballots in a quick and efficient way while maintaining a voter verifiable paper trail.”

“We also recently purchased a multi-purpose vehicle, the Porter County VoteMobile,” Bailey added. “This vehicle will assist in delivery election equipment, serve as election site, transport absentee ballots, participate in Voter Registration Drives and Election Outreach.”

Bailey has worked with State Representatives Chuck Moseley and Ed Soliday to create state legislation for the new Porter County Election & Registration Board and Office, as well as to allow Campaign Finance Reporting to be conducted online.  

“I also collaborated with the Porter County Auditor in order to streamline the pay system for poll workers, resulting in poll workers being paid in record time,” she said. “We created a training program for poll workers to ensure they were knowledgeable and able to fulfill their position on Election Day.”

On the Clerk’s office side, Bailey has expanded locations to collect child support payments, and partnered with the Porter County Library System to help with archiving and making information readily available.

“We have also been moving and relocating all the records from Portage to Valparaiso as part of the construction on the new North Government Complex. I have created social media pages for both the Clerk’s office and the Elections & Registration office in order to educate and provide constituents with current, up to date information.” 

Jessica Bailey has been doing a great job as Porter County Clerk.