News From Terre Haute, Indiana

April 15, 2014

EDITORIAL: Preparing for voting changes

Vote centers, touch-screen voting require your attention


The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — The primary election, during which Hoosiers will traipse to their polling places to select party candidates to fill the ballot for the general election, is now three weeks away. This is the time when most people begin to pay attention to local political campaigns.

When Vigo County’s potential voters start focusing on the May 6 election, they are going to find more to consider than just names on a ballot. The voting process is undergoing a transformation this year, and people will need to understand it before the day comes for them to choose and cast either a Republican or Democratic

ballot.

As we explained in our Citizens’ Guide published in the Sunday Tribune-Star on Page A6, voting centers are replacing precinct polling places this year, and touch-screen electronic voting is replacing the pen-and-paper ballot.

Voters are a resilient lot, but it’s important not to underestimate the dramatic nature of this change. There are no longer polling places in a voter’s home precinct. Under the new system, voters can choose to vote on Election Day at any of 18 voting centers located around the county. An electronic poll list will produce the appropriate ballot and route votes to the proper place.

What’s more, early voting has already begun at the Vigo County Courthouse. Early voting begins at the Vigo County Annex voting center on Monday, and at seven additional voting centers on April 28.

The second change employs a touch-screen system. After voting by selecting boxes on a screen, voters will receive a completed paper ballot that they will feed into a vote-counting machine.

If you missed our print edition of the Citizens’ Guide to voting changes, you can still view an interactive version at our website, www.tribstar.com. It contains mapped locations of the voting centers and a video demonstration of the voting process. Also available for download from the online version are copies of sample ballots for both Republican and Democratic parties.

This new process makes voting more accessible and convenient in Vigo County, but it would be wise for voters to educate themselves on the changes so they’ll know what’s coming when they go to vote.

Using our guides, either print or online, is a good way to prepare yourself.