St. Joseph County joins Elkhart County and a handful of others in Indiana which are considering allowing voters to choose from several locations to cast a ballot during the next election.
Under the vote center model, voters would no longer be assigned a single precinct, like the firehouse or school down the street. Instead, they’d have the option of choosing any one of up to a few dozen sites throughout the county.
“It would just be so much easier,” said Andrew Kostielney, president of the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners.
Some voters, especially those who work long hours and commute out of town, complain that having a single precinct makes voting in-person on Election Day inconvenient.
Vote center polling places would be scattered throughout the county and would have more workers, more machines, and more space. But overall, there would be fewer of them.
“We ballpark-ed it would save between three and four hundred thousand dollars a year, if not more,” he said.
According to Kostielney, St. Joseph County could reduce the number of poll workers it hires “by well over half.”
The St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners plans to start discussing vote centers early next year, so that they can have them in place for the 2014 election, Kostielney said.
Elkhart County also hopes to have vote centers up and running in time for the next election.