Bartholomew County has a lot as stake when it debuts the cost-effective voting center concept with the May 5 city primary elections. Eight voting centers are replacing the 33 traditional city precincts as places where residents can cast their ballots.
If the centers work the way they’re supposed to, there will be a huge upside for voters — in convenience, location options and taxpayer cost savings.
Registered voters can cast ballots at any voting center location, no matter where they live within the city. Each voting center will have 12 machines instead of two or three that the precincts did. The change is projected to save the county about $62,000 during the next two years.
However, the payoff comes only if things go like clockwork.
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That’s why we were heartened to see County Clerk Jay Phelps and Shari Lentz, supervisor of voter registration and elections, thoroughly vet each of the original six voter center locations in the city for suitability. They checked for Internet connections, adequate space for equipment and suitable parking, among other factors. Ultimately, they retained only two of the original sites, replaced four and added two more — to ensure sufficient access in the go-round.
The process began under the direction of outgoing Clerk Tami Hines, and is carefully being implemented under her successors. That should be an encouraging outcome for voters, no matter which candidates they are backing.