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March 16, 2014

Vote centers coming to Carroll Co.

Officials look to cut costs, increase flexibility

DELPHI — Carroll County voters will notice a change in this May’s primary election as the clerk’s office prepares to make the switch from traditional polling locations to vote centers.

The vote centers will consist of places where eligible Carroll County residents can go to vote that are all linked by secure Internet connections. An electronic pollbook will be instantaneously updated as ballots are cast.

They ultimately eliminate the need for traditional polling practices that restrict residents to voting in a location based on where they live. The switch will end up decreasing the number of necessary polling locations, allowing the county to cut costs.

Carroll County will use the new system for the first time in the 2014 primary election May 6.

The switch was made possible after Cass, Tippecanoe and Wayne counties successfully piloted the vote center program in the state from 2007 to 2010.

Carroll County Clerk Andrea Miller said the process started last year with acquiring approval from the county commissioners and council. Then a study committee was formed from the county’s municipalities representing both the Democratic and Republican parties. The committee determined how many sites were needed and which sites were adequate based on factors like internet connectivity and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Six locations emerged from the process — two for Delphi and one each for Burlington, Camden, Flora and Yeoman.

The electronic voting equipment will allow for early voting in the weeks leading up to the election as well.

“I am very excited that Carroll County has decided to make the switch to vote centers,” Miller said. “It’s taken a lot of planning and hard work from all those involved, but the benefits to the voters of our county will be well worth the effort we have spent implementing the new model.”

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