News From Terre Haute, Indiana

September 12, 2013

EDITORIAL: County plan for vote centers deserves commissioners’ OK

The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — The move toward creation of vote centers and implementation of touch-screen ballots has Vigo County out front in terms of creating a convenient and friendly climate for voting.

With the Election Board’s strong support leading the way, the county could have the features in place by next spring’s primary election. All that’s needed to maintain the momentum is approval from the county commissioners, who are reviewing the plan and are expected to take action soon. Barring discovery of some flaw in the plan, we urge the commissioners to cast a favorable vote.

Moving toward vote centers and touch-screen voting makes sense for the county on several fronts. In addition to the obvious impact of making the voting process more convenient for voters, it also makes conducting an election more efficient for the county. On top of that, there are long-term financial savings.

The new system, as proposed by County Clerk Dave Crockett and the Election Board, includes 140 touch-screen voting machines and 23 ballot boxes. There are also 56 electronic poll books that will display the voter’s precinct for vote center workers and will provide the correct ballot on the machine for each voter.

Under the plan, there would be a vote center open at the courthouse for 28 days before the spring 2014 election. A second vote center would be opened two weeks before Election Day and seven more centers would open a week before the election. On Election Day, 18 vote centers would be open.

This type of process is likely to be the wave of the future, but only a few counties are taking advantage of the opportunity at this point. Vigo County is to be commended for being one of them.

Overall, Indiana is no model for voter friendliness. The politically motivated voter ID law and an early registration deadline ensure that the voting process will never be as friendly as it could or should be. But there has been modest progress on some fronts, and allowing vote centers is one example.

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