County Council approves funding to purchase 150 voting machines

Ken de la Bastide, The Herald Bulletin, Anderson, Ind.
·2 min read

Mar. 10—ANDERSON — With little discussion, county officials have approved the purchase of additional voting machines to facilitate the implementation of vote centers.

The Madison County Council on Tuesday approved a request from the election board for an appropriation of $573,750 from the general fund to purchase 150 voting machines, adding to the 170 machines already owned by the county.

The county is awaiting approval by the Indiana Secretary of State's office for the necessary electronic poll books for Madison County to become a vote center county.

Auditor Rick Gardner said the funding, which was anticipated, will come from the county's general fund operating balance.

The election board has scheduled a third public hearing on the vote center concept for March 17 at 6 p.m. at the Pendleton Heights High School cafeteria.

Both the Madison County Council and Board of Commissioners have approved resolutions by unanimous votes for the implementation of vote centers starting with the 2022 election.

After many Madison County voters waited in line for more than two hours and some waited as long as six on Election Day, support for implementation by 2022 has been anticipated by county officials.

The vote center plan was rejected in 2020 by the county commissioners, who didn't approve the purchase of the necessary new equipment.

Last year, the Madison County Election Board adopted a vote centers proposal with eight satellite locations, which would include early voting.

As proposed, Madison County will have 29 vote center locations, with 15 in Anderson, four in Pendleton, two in Elwood and one each in Alexandria, Chesterfield, Lapel, Summitville, Orestes, Ingalls and Markleville.

There will be a minimum of eight voting machines at each location, according to Russ Willis, chairman of the Madison County Republican Party.

Madison County Clerk Olivia Pratt said the election board wanted to be sure that in 2022 voters would be notified of the change in their voting locations.

She said voters would be notified of the change by mail.

That plan has five satellite voting centers in Anderson with one each in Elwood, Alexandria and Pendleton. They would have been open 14 days before Election Day for early voting.

Early voting at the Madison County Government Center will start 28 days before both the primary and general elections next year.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.