Members of the Monroe County League of Women voters are pushing for changes in polling practices following the disorganization some members say they witnessed during this year’s election.
League President Anne Wren says the biggest disruption stemmed from schools being unable to close this year.
“Several of the schools didn’t want any adults near their children, which I understand, and in one school the adult teacher kept walking through the polling place every time he went into the gym and that caused some problems, I think, because of the security and privacy involved when people vote,” said Wren.
Current County clerk Jim Fielder says he thinks those issues are nothing new. The problem, he says, is that the schools did close last election and so both sides “forgot” what it was like to work together. Fielder says schools and other public buildings are legally required to provide space for polling precincts if the election board asks them. Clerk elect Linda Robbins says she thinks the locations for all polling places should be carefully considered before 2012.
“I think there are a lot of things we can do—particularly looking at voting centers,” said Robbins. “That is an option that would cut down on traffic and interruptions…we had fire stations that had problems and schools that had problems as far as the foot traffic for voters.”
Both Wren and Robbins agree that voting centers, a trial system currently used in two Indiana counties, is one answer to their problems. But for that system to be used in Monroe County state legislators would first have to give it their okay.