Secretary of State Diego Morales visited Marshall County on Friday morning to present a check for $21,777 from the Federal Help America Vote Act Grant. The money is being distributed to be used for local election improvement and security efforts.

Secretary of State Diego issued the following statement, “When I visited county clerks last year I listened to their needs and concerns and promised to help provide them with the tools and resources they need. Tools and resources come in all different ways, one, of course, being financial resources. I am so excited and honored to be able to hand deliver these funds to help our counties grow stronger.”

Marshall County Clerk of Courts Jenny Bennitt emphasized the importance of the grant funding which will be used locally for equipment.

Encoders will be purchased that are compatible with the voting machines. “It is important that we utilize the encoders to reduce the likelihood of human error, which makes each vote more secure and to increase the flow of voting and minimize wait time to vote,” said Bennitt.

Folding Portable Partitions will be purchased. “We hold our early absentee voting in an area within the Clerk’s Office. We currently use some old cubical walls to secure the area. The walls are in sections of varying heights, leaning against each other, and propped with chairs on the backside to stabilize them. The new walls will be self-supporting and definitely provide better security for the voting area.” said Bennitt.

High-speed printers will be purchased. “We currently have nine high-speed printers, and our 15 remaining printers are to the point of needing updating. The high-speed printers will enable our poll workers to do their jobs much more efficiently,” said Bennitt.

Poll Pad Transport Trolleys will be purchased. “We currently do not have a good way to transport our poll pads to our vote center and they can be very cumbersome. It is our goal to give our election inspectors their equipment in the most organized and convenient way possible,” said Bennitt.

She added, “Another point of interest, in early December, the State provided us with new voting machine cases that will also contain VVPAT (Voter-Verified-Paper-Audit-Trail) machine. State Law now requires all voting machines to have a VVPAT machine connected and fully visible to the voter. The VVPAT is a method of providing feedback that will allow voters to verify their vote was cast correctly.”

Bennitt was proactive by adding funds to the 2024 Budget to replace all 24 of Marshall County’s Poll Pads as with any electronic device – equipment becomes outdated and becomes incompatible with necessary updates. It was important to Bennitt that the equipment did not fail during the election process.

“The Clerk’s Office and the Election Board are continuing to look for ways to improve our election process. We want to make everyone aware that we are striving to run the best possible Presidential Election in Marshall County! Any suggestions or questions are welcome by the Clerk’s Office.”

Bennitt can be reached by calling 574-936-8922 or by email at

Photo: Deputy Clerk Yatziry Fuentes, Deputy Clerk Candice Grisham, Deputy Clerk Deputy Clerk Shelly Brown, Deputy Clerk Becky Burt, Secretary of State Diego Morales, Clerk of Courts Jenny Bennitt, Deputy Clerk Jaymie Dickson, Voter Registration Deputy Melinda Keilman, Poll Worker Donna Pontius, and Deputy Clerk Jenny Utter.

Article provided by our news partners at The Pilot News, Jamie Fleury writer & photographer.