Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

August 31, 2013

Vote center debate ends at public meeting

By Brent Brown Daily News
Greensburg Daily News

---- — GREENSBURG – After months of public meetings and all manner of debate, it took mere moments for the Decatur County Election Board to vote down the implementation of vote centers Thursday evening for the forthcoming elections of 2014.

In a well-attended public meeting that lasted fewer than five minutes, Election Board members Darryl Smith, Janet Chadwell and June Ryle cast their votes for or against replacing voting at specific precincts with vote centers spread throughout the county.

When the brief meeting had ended, Republican representative Smith and Democratic representative Ryle had cast their ballots against the implementation of vote centers. Chadwell, the Decatur County Clerk, voted in favor of the measure.

Ryle told the audience in the courthouse meeting room that she is personally in favor of vote centers in spite of her vote against the measure, due in part to their convenience. The former Greensburg Clerk-Treasurer said that the implementation of vote centers may not see abundant financial returns for the county in the beginning, but that could change as time goes on.

Ryle said she remained hopeful the topic will be revisited in the future, a sentiment echoed by Chadwell.

Chadwell’s lone “yes” vote stemmed from her belief that a changing, more mobile society as well as a decrease in the number of poll workers would make vote centers a more convenient option for many.

Smith’s vote against the procedure came from his belief that the adoption of vote centers would lead to “no significant savings” for the county, in addition to potentially creating problems for some voters.

Smith noted the measure would reduce the number of polling places in Decatur County from 20 to eight.

In order to have passed, Smith said, a unanimous vote for the adoption of vote centers by the Election Board would have needed to take place Thursday night. Following that, the proposal would have been discussed and voted on by the Decatur County Council.

Contact: Brent Brown 812-663-3111 x7056