This year marks the first presidential election where seven Indiana counties are using vote centers as opposed precinct voting. Secretary of State Connie Lawson says the counties include Johnson, Vanderburgh, Switzerland, Cass, Wayne, Blackford and Tippecanoe.
Lawson says the initial changeover does require cost, but saves money in the long run.
“The county governments who are obviously cash strapped already, it gives them the opportunity to combine their locations so they‘d rent fewer locations, they‘d have to pay fewer poll workers and probably use less equipment,” Lawson says.
Lawson says vote centers are connected via electronic poll listing and voters are free to access computer information and visit the center of their choosing.
Vanderburgh County Clerk Susan Kirk says her county switched to vote centers for last year‘s municipal election and the process has become more efficient.
“When you have 132 polling sites and now you‘re down to 23 obviously both parties were having difficulty finding people to work, number one plus our county saved $85,000 a year by switching,” Kirk says.
She adds voters can now download applications that will bring up each vote center and their wait time on election day. Lawson says early next year, the state will have meetings to review the effectiveness of vote centers and determine whether more counties will make the switch.