2015-08-11 / Front Page

Election Board Outlines Vote Centers

The Owen County Election Board is considering using Vote Centers for future elections. The board has appointed a Vote Center Commission to examine the idea.

How Does it Work?

The idea is simple. People choose the Vote center where they want to vote and go do so. A vote center is connected to the central election office through a secure internet connection.

An electronic poll book replaces the old paper ones. As citizens vote, the electronic poll book is constantly and automatically updated. This means that checking for eligibility, signature, and registration goes quickly. It also puts an end to location problems. Anyone can vote anywhere, so no more worrying about which polling place to go to or find.

What is the Process?

The process is simple too. A voter comes to any Vote Center, a poll-worker checks or scans the voter’s ID, and then the voter signs the electronic poll book digitally Just as you do at a store). The vote center is in constant communication with the central office to verify registration, signature, and eligibility. Then the voter goes to the machine and votes just as always. The voting process itself does not change.

Do Vote centers Replace Precinct Polls?

Yes. Currently there are 18 polling stations in Owen County. It is thought that 7-10 Vote Centers could replace these 18 locations. Some of the Vote Centers could be in the same places as precinct polls, but some precinct polling places will no longer be used. The precinct boundaries themselves, though, for purposes of registration and election districts, will not change.

The difference and advantage of a Vote Center is that you no longer have to vote at a predetermined poll site. You can vote at any of the Vote centers throughout the county, and need not rush to a particular place. The electronic poll books keep track of who has voted, so there’s no danger of duplication.

Where Would Vote centers Be Located?

Vote Center locations have not been determined, but some possibilities have been proposed. These are intended to be as conveniently located for as many county voters as possible. The Commission would be glad to hear from you about potential locations.

Might the Place I’ve Always Voted Disappear?

Some of the old polling sites will go away. Instead of 18 polling places requiring 90 poll-workers, 7-10 Vote Centers will be open. Remember though, that you can vote at any of them, wherever is most convenient for you.

What Equipment Is Needed?

The County will purchase an electronic poll book, scanner and/or signature pad for each Vote Center and software to run them. No vendor has yet been chosen. The same voting machines currently in use will still be used.

Would Vote centers Save the County Money?

According to the Secretary of State’s office, some studies have shown that vote centers could help control costs. Fewer poll sites, fewer workers, and fewer supplies will be needed. But they may not, especially at first.

The purpose of Vote Centers is to increase voter convenience and accessibility. Vote centers will let citizens vote where they choose with a high degree of flexibility and accuracy.

Is This Decision Already Made?

No. The Vote Center Commission is studying the issue and wants your input. The commission is a nonpartisan team of community leaders and members of both major political parties. You can express your ideas, concerns, questions and opinions to the Commission. Watch the newspaper for notices explaining how you can register your views and become a part of the process.

Want More Information?

The commission wants your opinion! If you have questions or comments, you can also contact Commission Chairman Don VanDer- Moere, Sr., at 317-440-2551 or Secretary Ed O’Brien at 812-821-3217. You can also contact the office of county clerk Linda Roy at 812-829- 5015.

Return to top

Click here for digital edition
2015-08-11 digital edition