Election sites to remain for midterms

The same 18 vote center locations that were open during last year’s presidential election will be used for the 2018 midterm contests.

That determination was made last week by the three-member Bartholomew County Election Board, consisting of County Clerk Jay Phelps, Jim Holland and Julie Schuette.

Phelps told the Bartholomew County commissioners at the beginning of the week that he preferred no changes be made now for the sake of continuity and voter familiarity.

“We’ve only had one general election (2016) with the vote centers,” county elections supervisor Shari Lentz said. “The board felt it would be best to leave things as they are, in order to get a better feel on how it would play out.”

During last year’s presidential election, several rural locations had lighter than expected voter turnout, including White Creek Lutheran Church and the Clifford Fire Department, Phelps told the commissioners.

The lower numbers were especially surprising in Clifford, which traditionally attracted strong turnout during the previous precinct voting system, Phelps said.

But it appears that many residents who used to vote in the small town instead chose to cast their 2016 ballots on the north side of Columbus or in the Hope area.

There is concern among Election Board members that there is no vote center in the Hartsville area, but that’s because the community does not have a suitable handicap-accessible building required by state law, Phelps said.

Research indicates that many Hartsville area residents cast their ballot at Shiloh Baptist Church on East State Road 46, he said.

“After the 2020 presidential election, I’m sure we’re going to reexamine our locations, if we don’t do it earlier,” Phelps said.

The county commissioners last week approved a three-year software license and service agreement for 34 poll pads.

Normally, each voting center has two poll pads, but those with a lower turnout may only have one, Phelps said.

The agreement with KnowInk, based out of St. Louis, Missouri, is for $5,100 annually through the 2020 election.

The election board agreed Wednesday to allow the company to perform an upgrade to provide a higher level of security.

Meanwhile, the board voted to contact individual candidates who are delinquent in campaign finance reporting and inform them of possible penalties if they do not submit all required information by Jan. 17.

The board decided that every candidate filing for next year’s election will be asked to sign a form stating that they have received campaign finance reporting information and deadlines.

Vote centers

1. Flintwood Wesleyan Church, 5300 25th St., Columbus

2. St. John’s Masonic Lodge, 4131 Rocky Ford Road, Columbus

3. Grace Lutheran Church, 3201 Central Ave., Columbus

4. Healing Waters Church, 2330 Midway St., Columbus

5. Donner Center, 739 22nd St., Columbus

6. East Columbus Fire Station, 935 Repp Drive, Columbus

7. The Commons, 300 Washington St., Columbus

8. MainSource Bank, 2310 W. Jonathan Moore Pike, Columbus

9. Terrace Lake Church, 4260 W. County Road 200S, Columbus

10. Faith Lutheran Church, 6000 W. State Road 46, Columbus

11. REMC building, 1697 W. Deaver Road, Columbus

12. Elizabethtown Fire Station, 10203 E. Legal Tender Road, Elizabethtown

13. Shiloh Baptist Church, 11988 E. State Road 46, Columbus

14. Hope Moravian Church, 202 Main St., Hope

15. Clifford Fire Station, 7850 N. Depot St., Clifford

16. German Township Fire Station, 9428 Main St., Taylorsville

17. Southwest Fire Station, 8500 S. State Road 58, Columbus

18. White Creek Lutheran Church, 16270 S. County Road 300W, Columbus

Author photo
Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.