Vote centers grow in popularity

May 1st, 2014 at 3:20 pm by under Jim Shella's Political Blog

It’s easier to vote in Hancock County this year.  That’s because vote centers were created for the 2014 election.

A vote center is a place where anyone in the county can vote.  It eliminates the need to go to your home precinct so you can vote close to where you work if you wish, or wherever is convenient.

There’s a vote center at the McCordsville Town Hall, one of five in Hancock County.  It’s open for early voting and that means voters like Patrick Musgrave can avoid the fifteen mile drive to the county courthouse in Greenfield.

“Much more convenient,” said Musgrave. “It’s about time they started doing it.”

It will also be open on Election day and poll worker Gordon Brooks has one word for it.  “I think it’s smooth,” he said.

Hancock County is using vote centers for the first time this year.  “We took nearly two years to study this concept,” said  County Clerk Marcia Moore who also says lines will be shorter on Electon day and there will be less confusion.

“Well, at a vote center you literally cannot be in the wrong location,” she said, “so, that was a real driver.”

“Two years ago just 7 Indiana counties had vote centers.  This year Hancock County is one of 16.  Bartholomew County becomes the 17th next year.”

It all started with a pilot project in Tippecanoe, Wayne and Cass Counties in 2007.

In 2013 Secretary of State Connie Lawson conducted 13 regional meetings.  “To give counties the opportunity to come and learn about vote centers,” says Lawson spokesperson Valerie Kroeger, “to decide if it was the right option for them.”

In Hancock County it’s still too early to gauge the success of vote centers but last Saturday 74% of the people who voted early, voted somewhere other than the county courthouse.

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