While several counties throughout Indiana have changed their polling place methods to the concept of a “voting center,” Secretary of State Connie Lawson visited Plymouth Monday morning to address clerks on the new voting center system and how it could benefit Marshall County. Lawson said she’s a supporter of the new voting center system, but it’s ultimately up to the county to decide what is best for them.
Lawson said the voting centers are more convenient for voters and less expensive for governments, as counties are allowed to centralize and combine polling locations rather than locate them in precincts like the county does currently. Lawson said that fewer polling places would cut costs by employing fewer poll workers, utilizing fewer voting machines and using less space.
She said each voting center could be placed in a popular location, even a business, in the voting area, and the county would decide how many machines and poll workers are necessary for operations to run smoothly. Lawson recently visited a number of voting centers in operation throughout Indiana, some of which were located in popular locations such as malls while others were even located in restaurants.
Cass County began using the voting centers through the original pilot program in 2007, and Cass County Clerk Beth Liming spoke highly of the idea, saying the switch ended up cutting election costs for her county in half. She said the biggest problem, however, was the necessity of high speed internet, but new software has recently eliminated that requirement.
Marshall County Clerk Julie Fox said they are considering the possibility of consolidating polling places and utilizing the new voting centers.