Election board certifies votes, moving on to vote center implementation

MUNCIE, Ind. − It's official. After reviewing challenged votes and provisional ballots, Delaware County Election Board approved a final tally for the 2022 general election that did not alter the results as they were known election night, Nov. 8.

The board reviewed 16 challenges to votes, based on errors such as a failure to sign an absentee ballot and signatures failing to match. After corrections by the voter, 10 of the 16 ballots were approved and county. Another eight provisional votes were reviewed by the board and three of those were approved and counted. In the end an additional 13 votes were added to the totals from election night.

"It didn't affect the results," said Board member and Delaware County Clerk Rick Spangler.

He said the board's next task is to get the county ready for vote centers to be in place for the municipal election in 2023. A vote center plan has been drawn up, including sites for 25 of the centers throughout the county. Ed Carroll, Republican county chairman, and Ana Quirk Hunter, county chairman for the Democrats, have plans to visit and approve the various sites before final approval of the centers.

Any registered voter in Delaware County could cast a ballot at any of the centers in the county. With polling places no longer tied to a voter's precinct, the centers offer a more efficient and potentially more convenient way to cast ballots. It would also reduce the need for poll workers at each precinct on election day. Finding poll workers has been difficult task for the clerk's office and party organizations in recent years.

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Most counties in the state have moved to vote centers.

Carroll was at the Election Board meeting and said he has not had time to visit and inspect the various vote center locations yet. Hunter was not at the meeting.

Leisa Meer, voter registration clerk, said to the board that the state must have the county voter center plan in hand by March 7 in order to conduct the 2023 primary and general election with the vote centers. County officials have said they would prefer to institute voter centers next year during a municipal election, with a lighter turnout, than during a presidential year, such as 2024, when the turnout would likely be very heavy.

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The approval of the plan must be unanimous with Spangler and the Republican representative on the board, attorney Peter Drumm, and the Democratic Party representative, Ashley Nichols.

Meer said the county commissioners and county council can pass a resolution endorsing vote centers but the power to develop the plan itself lies with the election board.

Spangler said the board will next meet in mid-December and discuss how to get the voter center plan implemented in time for the 2023 primary.

This article originally appeared on Muncie Star Press: Election board certifies votes, moves on to vote center implementation