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August 20, 2013

Miami Co. moves closer to vote centers

Committee makes final suggestions on implementing new voting system.

PERU — The Miami County vote center study committee met Wednesday for the final time to discuss details of possibly implementing a new voting system in the county that officials say will make voting easier for residents.

The vote centers system does away with precinct polling places, and allows residents to vote at any polling place in the county over an extended period of time.

The state has given counties the option of implementing vote centers since 2011, after conducting a three-year feasibility study in Wayne, Tippecanoe and Cass counties.

Paul Wilson, deputy of voter registration, said around 25 members met Wednesday to hash out and toss around ideas about how to implement the new system in Miami County.

“Oh my gosh, there were so many different suggestions about how to do this,” he said.

Wilson said most committee members, however, supported having seven different voting locations, two in both the north and south sides of the county, and three in Peru.

A few of those centers would be open for early voting.

Although the committee tossed around lots of ideas at its last meeting, Wilson said the final blueprint on how the vote centers will work is up to the three-member Miami County Election Board.

He said the board will sift through all the suggestions and nail down the details on how to implement the new system.

The board will then host a public forum to receive input from area residents. Wilson said the meeting should be scheduled in the next 30 days.

He said it’s tough right now to gauge the public’s support for vote centers, but noted the study committee conducted a straw poll on whether members supported the idea. Out of the 20 members who took the poll, only one had reservations, Wilson said.

After the public forum, the election board will vote on whether to submit its vote-center blueprint to the state for final approval. County council members and commissioners must also vote to approve the blueprint.

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