News From Terre Haute, Indiana

June 28, 2013

Vigo Election Board establishes 18 vote centers

Move to electronic poll books remains undecided

Lisa Trigg
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A “fairly firm” list of 18 vote centers for 2014 primary and general elections has been established by the Vigo County Election Board.

However, County Clerk David Crockett said Thursday afternoon that the move to electronic poll books, voting terminals and a vote scanner – and the cost for that technological transition – remains undecided.

The vote centers would replace precinct voting sites that have long been used in county and city elections.

Election Board members Michael Slagle, Kara Anderson and Jerry Arnold met with Crockett and representatives of Chicago-based RBM Consulting LLC, who demonstrated the touchscreen technology intended to make voting easier. The electronic poll books, however, caught the attention of the county’s voter registration staff.

Rob Resuali of RBM demonstrated how a voter arriving at a polling place would be asked to present an acceptable form of identification. For example, a state-issued driver’s license can be scanned to bring the voter’s identifying information onto a screen. Once that information is confirmed, a ticket would be printed to be taken to a voting machine. A poll worker would enter a code from that ticket into the vote terminal, which would display the ballot appropriate to that particular voter based on the precinct in which he or she lives.

 After the person has touchscreen-voted, another ticket would be printed that can be inserted into a vote scanner.

The electronic system would keep track of who votes where, so a person cannot successfully travel among vote centers trying to cast more than one ballot.

“We’re trying to make it more convenient and simplify it as much as possible,” Crockett said of the voting process.

The election board has heard from one other company about its polling equipment, he said, but no county authorization has been made to purchase new equipment for upcoming elections.

Crockett said he does not yet know a cost estimate for a new system.

However, if a new system is to be purchased in time for the 2014 primary, that decision must be made soon because RBM’s Dan McGinnis said it can take four months to build the electronic components and set up the software for an election.

The election board invited RMB to return for more discussion next week with the project manager who would be assigned to the Vigo County election.

Meanwhile, the board learned that 18 spots outside the county courthouse will be designated as vote centers.

The courthouse polling center will be open for 28 days before the election.

A vote center in the courthouse annex will be open for two weeks before the election.

Seven locations will be open for eight days before the election. Those sites are at the former Indiana State Police Post on U.S. 41 South, Booker T. Washington Center on South 13th Street, Baesler’s Market on Poplar Street, West Terre Haute Community Center, Valley Grill on North Third Street, Kroger North on Fort Harrison Road and New Life Fellowship Church at East Glenn.

Ten other vote centers will be open on election day only: VFW Post 972, Sandcut Fire Station, Blackhawk Fire Station, Pimento Fire Station, National Guard Armory on Maple Avenue, Prairieton United Methodist Church, New Goshen Fire Station, Vigo County Public Library, Wabash Valley Fairgrounds and the Riley Fire Station.

When asked if the 18 vote centers are firm sites, board member Slagle said they are “fairly firm” as locations.

Crockett said that each site is hosting the polling center for free.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.