State approves Madison County's vote center plan

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

Apr. 23—ANDERSON — The Indiana secretary of state's office has approved Madison County's plan to become a vote center county starting in 2022.

The Madison County Election Board on Thursday voted to purchase 76 electronic poll books from KnowInk, which completes the equipment purchase for the vote centers.

Madison County Clerk Olivia Pratt said the vote center plan adopted by the local election board has been approved by the state.

She said KnowInk is a part of MicroVote and used widely throughout the state.

The election board wanted to make a decision on the purchase of the poll books by no later than June and was awaiting state certification of the Elect Systems & Software, which now has been delayed.

"We felt we couldn't wait on ES&S," said Russ Willis, election board president. "KnowInk is used in 62 of Indiana's 92 counties."

Willis said there is a high probability that the Indiana secretary of state's office will provide funding for the purchase of the poll books.

He said the deadline set by the state is Friday.

"We might get all or part of the funding," Willis said.

Pratt said the cost of the 76 electronic poll books will be determined later.

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.

Earlier this year, the County Council approved the election board's request 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.

Under the vote center plan, eight satellite locations will be open for early voting for two weeks prior to the primary and general election day. Those facilities will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on two Saturdays.

The county will have 30 vote centers on election days.

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

Pratt said there will be a minimum of eight voting machines at the vote centers and satellite locations.

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

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