HANCOCK COUNTY — Secretary of State Diego Morales presented a check of approximately $39,000 Thursday afternoon to the county clerk and elections office to help go toward election improvements.

Morales stood in the elections office and thanked the many people that surrounded him, including county clerk Lisa Lofgreen, who was recently named treasurer of the Association of Circuit Courts of Indiana.

“That speaks volumes for Hancock County, and thank you for that,” said Morales to Lofgreen. “We’re very, very happy you’re in the leadership.”

Morales said that he and his team have been traveling from county to county presenting checks of the amount awarded as part of the approximately $2 million federal funding grant.

Morales said they were able to grant the whole amount that was requested — $39,815.

As Secretary of State, Morales said he doesn’t come into the county to tell someone how to do something, but rather how he can help. After visiting all 92 counties within six months, Morales said that they saw they needed to help provide tools and resources for all counties, no matter the size.

Lofgreen said she is happy with the work that the Morales’ office is doing and that she believes the responsiveness from his team is tremendous.

“It’s refreshing to have that in a state office,” Lofgreen said. “To get that response when we have questions.”

In the Secretary of State office, Morales said the four pillars he wanted to focus on and continue to do so is to be welcoming, responsive, efficient and innovative.

“We’re expecting a massive turnout for elections this year and we need to be ready,” Morales said. “That is why we are here, to make sure you can spend this financial support to continue to run smooth elections.”

Lofgreen said that they had determined that amount after receiving a quote from their election vendor for what it would cost to get all the ballot printers replaced.

“We will have brand new ballot printers for every vote center this year,” Lofgreen said.

Lofgreen said that the main thing voters will notice about the ballot printers is that they will be faster. However, Lofgreen said they will notice the difference quite more on their side.

Lofgreen said the reason why she asked for funding for new ballot printers is because the current ones are more than 10 years old, and the new ballot printers print black and white only, which means it’ll save funds in the long run because there is only one toner cartridge to replace.

“Whereas, the old printers are color so they required four toner cartridges, a drum, belts, and everything that’s going to be replaced — it’s going to be a savings to the taxpayers,” Lofgreen said.

Lofgreen said this savings will also be an ongoing savings and not just for getting the grant for purchasing the printers but also the costs that will be saved maintaining the printers moving forward.

First day for early voting starts April 9. Voting center locations are yet to be determined and finalized.