The idea of establishing voting centers is a polarizing one, however, the League of Women Voters said their issue is not with the voting centers specifically, but with the lack of preparation time and resources.
“I love the idea of voting centers, but we need more preparation,” Shari Frank, president of the League of Women Voters, said. “Our board has discussed it at great length and we support it, if done correctly in a way that serves the public.”
Frank added that the League is all about due diligence, public involvement and respect.
Frank said the first concern is the lack of time to implement. Trying to make major changes for the county during the year of the presidential election where poll workers would need to be trained on entirely new machinery and protocols requires time. The Indiana Secretary of State’s report mentions most counties accounting for between six and 10 months of full preparation time before implementing vote centers.
The proposal claims that citizens will be notified about the vote center locations on bills and taxes sent by mail, newspaper ads, social media, the county website and in flyers sent home from school with children. With only three months left until the general election, however, there is little room for error, Frank said. The voting center locations have been proposed, but Frank said a large concern is that there is no diagram or drawing on how many machines and voters each center can hold at a time.
“Where is the analysis that shows the layout?” Frank asked. “You can’t make layouts until you know what equipment you are working with.”
Also, without having more solid plans set in place, there is no opportunity for test-running new machines. Frank stated that there was a formula that could be used to check capacity, but it is necessary to have the proper information to input beforehand.
Frank said the League has been met with some pushback after asking questions.
“The public deserves to be heard,” Frank said.
Another concern from the League is the machinery.
“They started with the premise that paper ballots won’t work, but that is an incorrect assumption,” Frank said.
Frank said it has to do with voting security. She cited a machine in Philadelphia that marked all ‘yes’ responses as ‘no’. Unless people double-check their printed ballots, they cannot be sure the machines honored what the voter intended, and most people would never think to double-check, Frank told the Brown County Democrat. According to the League, hand-marked paper ballots best represent what the voter intended, and can be used in re-checks to accurately depict voter opinions.
The public is encouraged to email any questions, comments or concerns to [email protected] within the next 30 days. After 30 days, there will be another meeting to discuss all questions, as well as to provide the public with updates, according to the election board.