Election Day 2020 (copy)

Voters lined the hallways inside the National Guard Armory in Anderson as they waited to get inside the voting room on Election Day 2020.

ANDERSON — The first of four meetings to get input on the county’s intention to implement vote centers by 2022 has been set.

Madison County Clerk Olivia Pratt said the first of two state-required public hearings on the adoption of a vote center plan will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the council chambers of the Madison County Government Center.

Two tentative meetings have been scheduled for Elwood and Pendleton in early March. Both of those meetings will start at 6 p.m. The fourth meeting will take place at the courthouse.

“The meetings are to give people the opportunity to express their input on the vote centers,” Pratt said. “The two meetings at the courthouse are required, and the Election Board wanted to reach out to the community in the northern and southern parts of the county.”

During the past two weeks, both Madison County Council and the county commissioners have approved resolutions for the implementation of vote centers in 2022.

Pratt’s office is working on the eight satellite locations to be used for early voting and on election days in 2022.

“We should have all the locations known by the Wednesday meeting,” she said.

After many Madison County voters waited in line for more than two hours and some waited as long as six on Election Day in November, public support for voting center implementation by 2022 is anticipated by county officials.

Voting centers enable voters to cast ballots at any voting location rather than being restricted to a specific poll site.

The vote center plan in 2020 was rejected by county commissioners.

Pratt told council that the county would have to purchase electronic poll books and additional equipment for the 2022 election cycle.

She didn’t know the exact cost of the equipment but expects to provide that information to council at the March meeting.

“It will remain the exact same plan as last year,” Pratt said.

In 2020, the county election board adopted a vote centers proposal with eight satellite locations that would include early voting.

That plan had five satellite voting centers in Anderson with one each in Elwood, Alexandria and Pendleton. They would be open 28 days before Election Day for early voting.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

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