Officials: “Voting centers aren’t right for Allen County”

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Chances are if you voted Tuesday, you went to your assigned precinct polling place.  But what if you could cast your ballot at any voting center around town? Would that be more convenient? It’s a new trend lots of counties in Indiana are trying.

NewsChannel 15 caught up with election board officials Wednesday to see if it’s something they are considering.  Director of Elections Beth Dlug says right now chances are slim to none.  State officials say it cuts costs and makes the voting process easier, but Allen County election leaders feel completely differently about it.

“We don’t think they are right for Allen County right now,” Allen County Director of Elections Beth Dlug said.

In theory going from lots of traditional precinct polling places to just a few voting centers would save money, right? Fewer volunteers to pay and fewer utilities used.  Something state officials say is the case for the 16 counties that have made the switch.

“Many counties are embracing it,” Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson said, “They decrease the cost, but they increase the convenience for the voter.”

So why wouldn’t Allen County want to jump on the bandwagon? Dlug, says it wouldn’t save the county money.  Instead it would create more of a headache.

“Finding locations that are big enough to take an influx of people, have enough parking, and room for the machines that we need,” Dlug explained.

Some voting center counties have reported having higher voter turnouts.  Again, something Dlug says isn’t always the case.

“Turnout is more of what is on the ballot rather than how people vote. If people are excited about the ballot, they are going to go and vote. Johnson County which is a vote center county had one of the lowest turnouts in the state which was 9.4 percent.”

Allen County officials haven’t ruled the idea out completely, but it’s not something we’ll see popping up any time soon.

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