Election Board finalizing vote center plan

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

Mar. 25—ANDERSON — Members of the Madison County Election Board are putting the finishing touches on the proposal to implement vote centers for the 2022 election.

Both the Madison County Council and Board of County Commissioners have adopted resolutions for vote centers and $573,750 has been appropriated from the general fund to purchase 150 more voting machines.

The Election Board will conduct the final public hearing next Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the council chambers of the Madison County Government Center to finalize the plan for submission to the Indiana secretary of state's office.

The board voted unanimously Thursday to change the early voting hours at the satellite centers in 2022 for 14 days prior to the primary and general elections.

The hours recommended are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

The Election Board voted to move one of the satellite voting centers from the Anderson Township Trustee Community Center to the Zion Baptist Church.

Another change was to move Election Day voting from the Anderson Township Trustee Community Center to the United Auto Workers hall at 29th Street and Madison Avenue.

A voting center will be placed at the Florida Station church on election days.

"Our vote is set for next Wednesday," County Clerk Olivia Pratt said. "We're trying to use the satellite locations also on election days."

Thomas Newman Jr., chairman of the Madison County Democratic Party, said the proposal is giving people opportunities to vote.

"We don't want a repeat of 2020," he said of people standing in line for up to six hours during the general election.

There will be 30 vote centers open on election days, Pratt said.

"We want to make any proposed changes before we vote," she said. "Any amendments to the plan will have to be resubmitted to the state."

The Election Board also discussed the purchase of up to 75 electronic poll books.

Pratt said Election Systems & Software, or ES&S, expects to get its electronic poll books certified by the state by the summer. She said the ES&S poll books are being used in other states.

Pratt said the Indiana secretary of state's office is trying to provide funding for counties to purchase electronic poll books.

"The amount will depend on the numbers from each county," she said.

Russ Willis, Madison County Republican Party chairman, said a decision on which vendor to purchase the electronic poll books from should be made in May or June.

"The funding deadline is the key," he said.

The Election Board is also considering requesting an ordinance be adopted by the county commissioners to prohibit the placing of candidate signs at the satellite and vote center locations.

"I believe it wouldn't change the outcome of an election if the signs are not allowed," Newman said.

Candidates would still be able to have workers at the polling sites.

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