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Contact: Jim Gavin
(Indianapolis) – Last night, the Indiana Senate passed Senate Bill 235, legislation authorizing vote centers as a voting alternative statewide, by a vote of 45-3. The legislation allows local county election boards to approve this alternative method by a unanimous vote, leaving the choice of implementation up to each local community.
The vote center legislation is a major initiative of Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita and is sponsored by Senator Sue Landske, (R-Cedar Lake).
“The legislation provides an option for counties to adopt vote centers and tailor them to their own individual needs,” Landske said. “We have had very good discussions about vote centers, and I believe they will save counties a considerable amount of money if they adopt it.”
Rokita pointed out that the act of voting has not kept up with lifestyle changes.
“Our election process has remained the same for more than 100 years, yet our lifestyles have changed significantly,” Rokita said. “Vote Centers mean voting the way we live today and no longer worrying about finding the right precinct because any center in the county will work. The concept also means savings for taxpayers by significantly reducing the cost of election administration.”
By utilizing technology, counties opting to participate would be able to decrease the overall number of polling places and offer the option of voting at the location most convenient for individuals. Centers would be placed in high-traffic, accessible locations, with preference given to locations along public transit lines, such as libraries and public office buildings. Electronic poll books connected by a secure line to the county election board office would be updated in real-time and enable election officials to ensure each person votes only once.
The change would translate into taxpayer savings by reducing the number of voting systems needed to run an election, reducing the number of election workers, and eliminating costly printing and storage of poll books.
Vote center legislation will now head to the House of Representatives. Additional information about the Secretary of State’s vote center pilot project can be found at www.sos.in.gov.
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