Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

April 12, 2013

Vote centers to cut costs

Lawson outlines state program.

Secretary of State Connie Lawson said in the long run, vote centers will save Indiana counties money.

Lawson was in Kokomo Thursday to conduct a regional meeting on vote centers to provide information to county elections officials contemplating a vote center program.

Representatives from Howard, Miami, Tipton, Jay and Madison counties attended the meeting at the Howard County Government Annex.

Lawson said there are currently seven active vote centers in Indiana and two more approved for the 2014 election.

“I’m a proponent of vote centers,” she said, “but the decision has to be made by local officials. The vote center concept can reduce election year expenses in the long run.”

Indiana counties spend an annual average of $100,000 on elections.

Lawson said vote center costs involve buying equipment and educating voters to the new process.

She said six more counties are seriously considering implementing voter centers in 2014, among them is Howard County. Implementation has been delayed because the county didn’t have a draft plan that included the number and location of the proposed vote centers.

Kim Wilson, Howard County clerk, has estimated the county would save $310,132 over a four-year span, which would include three election cycles. Most of the savings comes from paying poll workers and providing meals for them. The cost of electronic poll books and new electronic voting machines has been estimated at $300,000.

Lawson said vote centers are convenient for voters and the county should find locations where voters are on a regular basis.

Some counties have used libraries, grocery stores, shopping malls and restaurants as vote centers, she said.

Although vote centers are believed to increase voter turnout, Lawson said, during the 2012 presidential election year, the turnout was comparable between counties with vote centers and those without.

Cass County, which was one of the pilot counties for vote centers, reported turnout in the 2012 general election at 51 percent, compared to 44 percent in Howard County.

“When counties originally went to the vote center concept, there was a slight increase in turnout,” Lawson said. “But it’s not really increasing voter turnout. It is increasing voter convenience.”

Lawson said both political parties have to support the vote center concept and be involved in the selection of vote center locations. She said locations should not put one party at a disadvantage.

Tippecanoe County went from 93 precincts to 19 vote center sites.

Cass County has seven vote centers on election day with six of them open for early voting.

Lawson said the first step in implementing vote centers is a resolution passed by the county council and county commissioner followed by formation of a study committee. The third step is a draft plan followed presentation of the plan at a public meeting with a 30-day comment period.

The next step involves a public meeting on the final plan and approval by unanimous vote of the election board, she said. The plan is then submitted to the Indiana Election Division.

“The final plan can be updated depending on the local experience,” Lawson said. “Counties should look at how they will handle municipal and special elections as part of any plan.”

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Kokomo Tribune eEdition, or our print edition

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Illinois man leads police on high-speed chase PERU — An Illinois man driving at speeds of 120 mph led officers from three counties on a high-speed chase Sunday before crashing into a utility pole. Peru police say Isaac K. Hoefling, 31, Lamont, Illinois, was first pulled over by Howard County dep

    July 28, 2014

  • Permanent road closure has Miami Co. residents worried PERU — Residents who live near a safety-flare company that’s expanding north of Peru spoke out against a proposal to permanently close a section of county road that runs through the company’s facilities. Orion Safety Products, located at 3157 N. 500

    July 28, 2014

  • Gary Rhum bringing music lessons to Catholic school Rhum Academy of Music's owner is set to give all students at Sts. Joan of Arc & Patrick School music lessons next year as part of the school's curriculum. When Gary Rhum talks about why he loves to teach kids music, the long-time performer and instru

    July 28, 2014

  • The Annex 01 Move-in date approaching at The Annex of Kokomo A new apartment complex catering to Indiana University students is ready for occupancy. Some students will be able to move into The Annex of Kokomo, located across the street from the IUK campus on Washington Street, as early as Aug. 1, while the maj

    July 28, 2014 6 Photos

  • Commission postpones rezoning vote for Functional Devices land TIPTON — Residents of Prairie Acres subdivision will have to wait at least two more weeks to learn the fate of a pair of zone requests from Functional Devices. At Monday's regularly-scheduled bi-weekly county commissioners meeting, city-county plan d

    July 28, 2014

  • Teachers worry about revamped ISTEP test INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana teachers heading back to classrooms starting this week are facing the daunting task of preparing students for a standardized test that's been retooled for the third time since 2009. Some teachers and district administrator

    July 28, 2014

  • NWS - KT072514 - Maconaquah celebrates 50 years - CLG Maconaquah alumni return to celebrate school's 50th anniversary Many fond memories were shared recently as 50 years of Maconaquah graduates gathered to celebrate as many years of Maconaquah High School history.But for all the reminiscing that took place, there was an equal amount of well wishes for “the next 50 y

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Spirits high at Brickyard 400 SPEEDWAY – Despite threatening skies and chances of rain, fans at the Brickyard 400 were not disheartened by the forecast. Brickyard 400 race day dawned with rain and fog, and the sun broke through the clouds at mid-morning. Fans expected the race to

    July 27, 2014

  • NWS - KT072614 - Five Below Grand Opening - pic Five Below opening draws crowds

    Mary Martin is the director of marketing and business development for Markland Mall and, with four grandchildren, she's also a consumer looking for cost-effective deals which still leave her — and the kids — feeling satisfied. Martin was able to purc

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mud battle 01 Mud Battle at Oakbrook Church challenges participants

    Challenges are nothing knew to Army Specialist Anthony Walton. An Afghanistan veteran, who was injured in 2011, Walton has endured some of the worst conditions imaginable. While in Afghanistan, Walton was shot more than 30 times in his left arm durin

    July 27, 2014 3 Photos

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries