News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion

May 6, 2014

EDITORIAL: Frustration understandable, but voting centers a leap forward

TERRE HAUTE — Well, nobody said it would be perfect. It wasn’t. Far from it.

Overall, we’re satisfied with Vigo County’s first election using voting centers and touch-screen voting. Turnout at the polls was normal for a primary, which traditionally draws fewer voters to start with than other elections. That tells us voters were willing to try out the new system and see what all the fuss was about.

Vigo and Clay counties were the only area counties using the new voting centers, and we suspect those who run elections, as well as those who participate in them, won’t want to go back to the old ways.

Yes, the new method will need analysis and tweaking. Things will definitely need to get better by this fall’s general election, which will draw a larger turnout.

Still, this is a major advancement for accessibility to the polls, and as people get more comfortable with it, they will grow to understand that it’s a far more efficient and convenient system for all involved.

Early observations are that some well-placed voting centers, such as the ones at Baesler’s Market or Kroger North, were the most popular destinations for voters.

While lines were frustratingly long at those locations, other centers, such as those at Booker T. Washington Community Center, the Vigo County Public Library, or at rural outposts such as Pimento, rarely had waiting lines at all. The same was even reported at the voting center in the Vigo County Annex.

Because Internet connections were not set up at the Vigo County voting centers for the primary, poll workers had to transport the results to the courthouse on “thumb” drives — portable digital storage devices that can actually fit in someone’s pocket.

That delayed vote counting for a while. Once that task was complete, results streamed in quickly. All votes had been counted by around 9 p.m. That’s later than expected for a small election, but we suspect the process will produce quicker results next time.

We’re willing to give election officials some slack this time as they review their processes and make necessary adjustments. While not everyone may be happy with their first experience, we encourage voters to be patient. The basic system is sound and will be far better for voters in the long run.

 

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