There’s good news on the horizon for local voters.
The Bartholomew County Election Board has unanimously approved adopting voting centers, which could be used for the first time in the 2015 Columbus city elections.
A voting center replaces a traditional polling precinct and allows any registered voter to cast a ballot at any voting center anywhere in the city or county and receive the correct precinct ballot. Electronic poll books connect all the centers and guarantee that voters can vote only once per election.nce for voters would be a great public service.
It’s not a done deal yet, however. This new voting procedure still must be approved by the county commissioners and the county council. The commissioners’ next meeting is Monday, while the council’s monthly meeting is Feb. 11.
When these elected bodies take action on the resolution, the decision should be an easy one: Adopt voting centers for Bartholomew County.
Voting centers make it easier for people to vote early and on Election Day.
About a dozen other Indiana counties agree, having adopted voting centers since a pilot program studied them in 2007 and a state law allowed them in 2011.
With a voting center system, voters could cast their ballots at any one of 17 centers throughout the county. In a city election, seven voting centers are planned.
Currently, people can vote only at one designated precinct on Election Day. If people want to vote early, they can do so only at the county courthouse.
However, voting centers would provide additional opportunities and locations: As many as seven voting centers would open each of the two Saturdays before a countywide election, and three for a city election.
A cost would be incurred to get the voting centers up and running because the county’s machines can’t handle the number of votes a voting center would handle, and larger memory cards might be needed. The cost would be $204,975 if the necessary equipment is purchased and $135,466 if leased.
However, this cost shouldn’t discourage the commissioners and council members from approving voting centers.
When casting their own vote on this proposal, our elected officials need to keep two things in mind: Nobody likes long lines when trying to vote, and providing convenie